Journalism and free speech trials: Week of March 25 - 29

24 March 2019
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This week several journalism and freedom of expression trials will resume at courts, including the trial of Özgür Gündem daily editors and staff, as well as 12 journalists and writers who participated in the “Editors-in-Chief on Watch” campaign in solidarity with Özgür Gündem.  Below is a list of this week’s hearings:

25 March, Monday

  • Second hearing of the trial where Evrensel daily reporter Cansu Pişkin faces “targeting those who participated in anti-terror operations” charges will take place at İstanbul 36th High Criminal Court. Pişkin faces these charges for a news story published on 5 April 2018 titled “A special prosecutor for Boğaziçi students.”

  • Second session of the 15th hearing of the trial where since shut down Taraf daily’s administrators Ahmet Altan, Yasemin Çongar, Yıldıray Oğur, Tuncay Opçin and reporter Mehmet Baransu face “partially or completely destroying, disposing of, stealing, secretly obtaining and disclosing information or documents that, due to their nature, must be kept confidential for reasons relating to the security, or domestic or foreign political interests of the State” charges will take place at İstanbul 13rd High Criminal Court. Journalists face these charges for Taraf's reporting on “Operation Sledgehammer,” an alleged Turkish secularist military coup plan dating back to 2003. 

26 March, Tuesday

  • Fourth hearing of the trial where journalist and photographer Çağdaş Erdoğan faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making terrorist propaganda” charges will take place at İstanbul 33rd High Criminal Court.

  • Fifth hearing of the trial where 10 people including Halkın Nabzı newspaper’s owner journalist İshak Karakaş face “making terrorist propaganda” charges will take place at İstanbul 28th High Criminal Court.

  • Sixth hearing of since shut-down Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Ziya Ataman’s trial will resume at Şırnak 1st High Criminal Court. Ataman has been imprisoned for almost three years.

27 March, Wednesday

  • Third hearing of the trial where Etkin News Agency (ETHA) editor Semiha Şahin and reporter Pınar Gayıp face “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making terrorist propaganda” charges will take place at İstanbul 23rd High Criminal Court.

  • Evrensel daily’s Dersim reporter Kemal Özer’s trial where he is charged with “membership in a terrorist organization” will resume at Tunceli 1st High Criminal Court. A verdict is expected from this hearing. Özer had been arrested in September 2017 and was released on 21 January 2019.

  • The trial of Artı TV Ankara correspondent Sibel Hürtaş and journalist Hayri Demir will resume at Ankara 15th High Criminal Court. Hürtaş and Demir are among 11 defendants who stand trial for their social media posts.

28 March, Thursday

  • Fifth hearing of the trial where since shut-down Zaman daily’s Konya correspondent Şirin Kabakçı faces“membership in a terrorist organization” charges will take place at İstanbul 35th High Criminal Court

  • 12th hearing of the trial where since shut-down Özgür Gündem daily’s administrators and staff (Eren Keskin, Hüseyin Aykol, Reyhan Çapan, Filiz Koçali, Ayşe Berktay, Nuray Özdoğan, Celalettin Can, Ayşe Batumlu, Reyhan Hacıoğlu) face “making terrorist propaganda” charges will take place at İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court.

  • 11th hearing of the trial where 12 journalists and writers (Faruk Eren, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Celal Başlangıç, Ömer Ağın, İhsan Çaralan, Celalettin Can, Fehim Işık, Öncü Akgül, Hüseyin Aykol, Veysel Kemer, Yüksel Oğuz, Mehmet Şirin Taşdemir and Dilşah Karakaya) face “making terrorist propaganda” charges for participating in the “Editors-in-Chief on Watch” campaign in solidarity with the since shut-down Özgür Gündem daily will take place at İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court.

  • The trial where since shut-down Özgür Gündem daily’s Editors-in-Chief Hüseyin Aykol and Zana Kaya, Managing Editor İnan Kızılkaya and Kurdish politician Hatip Dicle face “publicly denigrating the government, the judiciary, and law enforcement officials” and “publicly denigrating the Turkish people, the republic, and the Grand National Assembly” charges for news stories published in the newspaper will resume at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of the First Instance.

  • Second hearing of the trial where since shut-down Zaman daily’s former Managing Editor Harun Çümen faces “membership in FETÖ (Fethullahist Terrorist Organization)” charges will take place at İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court.  Çümen is tried whilst in detention.

  • Fourth hearing of the trial where journalist Pelin Ünker faces “defamation and slander through press” charges for reporting on Paradise Papers will resume at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of the First Instance. Minister of Finance and Treasury Berat Albayrak and his brother Serhat Albayrak are the complainants.

29 March, Friday

  • Trial of musician Ferhat Tunç where he is charged with “publicly provoking the people to hatred and animosity” due to his social media posts from April 2017 regarding the referendum on the changes to the Constitution will resume at Büyükçekmece 4th Criminal Court of the First Instance.

  • The trial where since shut-down Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Gökhan Öner faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making terrorist propaganda” charges will resume at  Denizli 2nd High Criminal Court. Among the evidence presented against Öner in the indictment are having worked for DİHA and the Kurdish songs on his phone.