Journalist Haydar Ergül is released after 15 months

5 April 2019

İstanbul - Eighth hearing of the trial where 19 defendants including Demokratik Modernite journal’s editor Haydar Ergül face “membership in a terrorist organization” charges was held at the İstanbul 22nd High Criminal Court today. Ergül and seven others have been tried whilst in detention for over a year. During today’s hearing, the court ruled to release Ergül and three others.

Defendant Abdullah Geldi, who is tried whilst in detention, was brought before the court. Haydar Ergül and Ercan Doğru attended the hearing from the prison they are held at via video-conference link, SEGBİS. The hearing began by reading out loud the petition of six detained defendants, explaining that they are boycotting the court until the hunger strike demanding the lifting of solitary confinement of Abdullah Öcalan is ended.

Witness Cemil Karaman was called to the stand and heard per Ercan Doğru’s request.

Abdullah Geldi, who has been detained for 15 months, requested his release in his defense statement and added: “I’ve never lost faith in justice despite all this suffering, torture, and oppression. I demand justice.”

While Raziye Turgut, defense lawyer for some of the defendants who were boycotting the court, mentioned Öcalan’s solitary confinement in order to explain the reason for the hunger strike, prosecutor Ersin Esenal interrupted the lawyer and left the courtroom in protest. The hearing could resume only when Esenal decided to return to the courtroom.

In his defense statement, journalist Haydar Ergül said: “I’ve been detained for 15 months. I was arrested without any concrete evidence. I have various medical problems, that’s why I cannot come to the court in person. I demand you to end this unjust sentence,” and demanded his release.

Prosecutor Ersin Esenal requested the continuation of all defendants’ detainment.

Following a break, the court announced their interim decision and ruled for the continuation of Eşref Yaşar, Aygül Turhan, Mustafa Elma, Münevver İlingi and Aysel Diler's detainment. The court ruled to release Haydar Ergül, Ercan Doğru and Abdullah Geldi with judicial control measures including an international travel ban.

The trial is adjourned until 28 June.