Deniz Tekin, Diyarbakır - Jailed journalist Kibriye Evren appeared before Diyarbakır 5. High Criminal Court today, on ‘membership in a terrorist organization’ and ‘terrorist propaganda’ charges. Court ruled to keep Evren in jail, and adjourned the hearing until 10 January.
Journalist Kibriye Evren who was taken into police custody and arrested on 9 October 2018, is facing a prison sentence from eight to 20 years. Her indictment consists of anonymous witness statements, her social media posts and her trips outside Turkey. Evren’s first hearing was planned to start at 10 AM, however was delayed until 1:30 PM, due to the absence of a Kurdish translator.
Presiding judge replaced during the lunch break
Hearing was monitored by Turkey Journalists Union (TGS) Diyarbakır Head Mahmut Oral, Mesopotamia Women Journalists Platform, Free Journalists Initiative (ÖGİ) representatives, Evren’s colleagues, Peoples’ Democratic Party MP Semra Güzel, and Evren’s family. Hearing started with identity checks and continued with the reading of the indictment summary. The presiding judge was seen to be replaced during the lunch break.
Evren submitted her defense in Kurdish, via a translator. She noted that she was repeating her initial statements from the investigation period of the case and said, "I am being tried because I am a journalist. Journalism is my profession. I am known as a journalist in my own circle of people. A journalist’s duty is to report. These reports are aimed to inform the public. There may be sources of news reports and a journalist can go and interview these people both within the boundaries of the country, and outside. As a journalist, I have traveled abroad many times. I already presented my news reports via my attorney."
Prosecutor requests continuation of detention of Evren
The hearing prosecutor requested the continuation of detention of Evren, claiming there is strong doubt and that judicial control measures would be insufficient. Evren’s lawyer Pirozhan Karali presented Evren’s news reports to the panel of judges and requested the release of his client. Court ruled to keep Evren in detention, and adjourned the hearing until 10 January, for the completion of the missing documents in the case file.