Several journalism and free speech trials were held last week. Below is a list of the hearings monitored by Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) last week:
Court acquits Didim-based journalists for “provoking the people to animosity” charges
In the trial where staff members of Didim-based local newspapers Özgür Ses (Free Voice) and Mavi Didim (Blue Didim) faced “provoking the people to hatred and animosity” charges for reporting on the Labor Party’s (EMEP) anti-war press statement, the court acquitted the journalists.
Court decides to release Kemal Sancılı in Özgür Gündem main trial
Twelfth hearing of the trial where nine of since shuttered Özgür Gündem daily’s writers and editorial board members face terror-related charges resumed at İstanbul 23rd High Criminal court. The court ruled to release the newspaper’s former publisher and detained defendant Kemal Sancılı for this case; however, Sancılı will remain in prison while he serves a sentence from a conviction in a separate case. The trial is adjourned until 3 July.
İshak Yasul and Hicran Urun are released in the Özgürlükçü Demokrasi trial
Fourth hearing of the trial where fourteen staff members of the Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper face membership in a terrorist organization and terrorist propaganda charges resumed at İstanbul 23rd High Criminal Court. The court ordered the release of Managing Editor İshak Yasul and editor Hicran Urun pending the outcome of their trial with a travel ban, ruled for the continuation of the detainment of editors Reyhan Hacıoğlu, Mehmet Ali Çelebi and publisher İhsan Yaşar. The trial is adjourned until 28 June.
Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yücel’s trial is adjourned until 16 July
Third hearing of the trial where Die Welt correspondent and German citizen Deniz Yücel faces “making terrorist propaganda” and “provoking the people to hatred and animosity” charges was held at İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court. Since Yücel will be presenting his defense statement during a rogatory court hearing in Berlin on 10 May, the court decided to wait for this process and adjourned the trial until 16 July.
Austrian journalist Max Zirngast appears before court
Austrian journalist Max Zirngast appeared before court during the first hearing of the trial where he faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges. In his defense statement, Zirngast rejected the allegations and said: “I’m not a spy. I wrote critical articles in Toplumsal Özgürlük journal. Is it a crime to criticize?” The court ruled for the continuation of Zirngast's travel ban and adjourned the trial until 11 September.