Ahmet Kanbal, Mardin – Abdulkadir Turay, a former journalist for now-defunct media outlet Dicle News Agency, has been sentenced to 9 years imprisonment for past news articles and notes. Turay has already been imprisoned for 2 years.
Nine defendants appeared at Mardin 2. High Criminal Court on terrorism charges today. In addition to Turay, Savur Municipality Deputy Co-chair Osman Ok and Democratic Regions Party members Mehmet Sait Tuncer, Yusuf Erat, Şakir Turan, Davut Tekin, Hamdullah Öz, Naci Arslan and Yalçın Bulgan all face terrorism charges.
The defendants submitted their defense statements in Kurdish. They requested acquittal and drew attention to the fact that the prosecution’s case relies on the testimony of two anonymous witnesses.
Turay claimed that the testimony of the anonymous witnesses was not reflective of the truth. “I had been working as a journalist since 2014 until when I was detained 2016. I was an insured employee of DİHA. All the information I gathered from my source were newsworthy. They cannot be presented as evidence of crime.”
Şehmuz Taşkın, a lawyer for the defense, then took the floor. Taşkın noted that even the anonymous witnesses do not specify what actions his clients are alleged to have done on behalf of any terrorist organizations. He also observed that the witnesses had changed their statements after the emergence of new evidence, indicating that they are not to be relied on. Lawyers for the defense went on to cite decisions of the Constitutional Court and European Court of Human Rights which declare that anonymous witness statements are an insufficient evidential basis for conviction.
The prosecution then reasserted their final opinion and requested the conviction of Hamdullah Öz, Mehmet Sait Tuncer, Yalçın Bulgan, Gazeteci Abdulkadir Turay, Yusuf Erat, Mevlüde Ökmen, Osman Ok and Şakir Turan. The prosecution has however requested that Davut Tekin and Naci Arslan be acquitted.
The court sentenced Turay to 9 years imprisonment. Öz and Bulgan received sentences of 10 years and 6 months, whereas Ökmen, Arslan and Tekin were sentenced to 7 years and 6 months. Erat received a sentence of 3 years and 9 months. Turan, Ok, and Tuncer each received sentences of 6 years. The court chose to release Ok from imprisonment. The defendants face a cumulative 74 years and 3 months imprisonment.
Updated: December 3 2018