Last week in free speech: Week of May 27 - 31

1 June 2019

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:

ETHA reporter Ali Sönmez Kayar’s trial is adjourned until October

Fourth hearing of the trial where nine defendants including Etkin News Agency (ETHA) reporter Ali Sönmez Kayar face “membership in a terrorist organization” charges took place at Istanbul 32nd High Criminal Court. In its interim decision, the court ruled for the continuation of all judicial control measures and adjourned the trial 31 October.

Court rules to keep Mehmet Gündem in prison, adjourns trial until July

Sixth hearing of the trial where journalist Mehmet Gündem faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges was held at Istanbul 35th High Criminal Court. Gündem is being tried whilst in detention and has been imprisoned since November 2017. The court ruled for the continuation of journalist Mehmet Gündem’s detention and adjourned the trial until 9 July.

Constitutional Court postpones Academics for Peace meeting as the Ministry delays submitting an opinion

Constitutional Court’s First Chamber met to review the individual applications of ten “Academics for Peace” signatories who have been convicted for “making terrorist propaganda” charges today. Professor Füsun Üstel, who has been behind bars for 21 days, is among the applicants whose applications were reviewed. The chamber could not reach a decision today and postponed the meeting to a later date on the basis that the Ministry has not submitted their opinion yet.

Bülent Şık not acquitted in the second hearing, trial adjourned

Second hearing of the trial where scientist Bülent Şık faces up to 12 years in prison for disclosing the findings of a cancer research conducted in a region inhabited by 8 million people by the Ministry of Health was held today. During the hearing that took place at Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance, the court decided to grant additional time for defense lawyers to present their final defense and adjourned the trial until 26 September.

Court files rogatory request for Ferhat Tunç’s defense statement

Fifth hearing of the trial where artist Ferhat Tunç faces “insulting the president” charges for ten tweets he had posted in 2016 is being held at Büyükçekmece 14th Criminal Court of the First Instance. The court decided to file an international rogatory request in order to receive artist Ferhat Tunç’s defense statement in Germany.