MLSA applies to the Constitutional Court on behalf of journalist Yılmaz

8 January 2019
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An application to the Constitutional Court was filed on behalf of İdris Yılmaz, who is represented by the Media and Law Studies Association.

An application to the Constitutional Court was filed on behalf of journalist İdris Yılmaz, represented by the MLSA, who was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison on charges of “membership to a terrorist organization” on 3 January 2018. The application, which the lawyers requested to be examined with priority, states that Yılmaz’s rights to freedom and safety secured by the Constitution and the European Convention Human Rights (ECHR) were violated.

Lawyer Veysel Ok made the following statement about the case: “Our client İdris Yılmaz has become the target of authorities due to the successful and effective journalism he practices in Van’s Erciş province. Following İdris’ first arrest in January 2018 on account of his posts on social media, another investigation was launched in February. Once his period of detention was over, he was arrested again pursuant to this case.”

‘Indictment doesn’t include any evidence other than the witness statement’

Emphasizing that Yılmaz’s indictment had not been prepared for a long time, Ok stated, “The indictment did not include any evidence other than the witness statement, which was inadmissible pursuant to both Turkish laws and Turkey’s obligations arising from ECHR and other international conventions. İdris was convicted with only one person’s statement. We took İdris’ unjust and long detainment period within the scope of this case, which is enforced in a nonprocedural manner, to the Constitutional Court. Our next step will be taking this case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).”

Qualified defense was prevented

Expressing that Yılmaz’s arrest warrant had exceeded interim measures and turned into a criminal enforcement, his lawyers emphasized that they were prevented from providing a qualified defense throughout the proceedings and that they were not permitted access to information regarding the evidence due to the confidentiality order about the case.

MLSA Legal Unit’s Zelal Pelin Doğan stated that this is against the “equality of arms” principle within the right to a fair trial as it is regulated under ECHR’s Article 6. “The defense is being rendered ineffective during the proceedings. None of our requests have been accepted. Now we have the appeal process ahead of us. If things go against our favor, we will take this case to ECtHR,” she said.

About Yılmaz’s case

İdris Yılmaz is the co-founder of Gazete Yaşam, a local newspaper in Van’s Erciş province, and was a reporter for Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA), which was shut down by the government. He was detained and arrested in January 2018 on account of sharing his criticism of the military operation in Afrin on social media. In February 2018, another investigation on Yılmaz was launched on charges of “membership to a terrorist organization.” Arrested following the end of his detention period for the first investigation, Yılmaz was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison during the second hearing of this case on 3 January 2019.