Next hearing of journalist Şirin Kabakçı will be held in December

9 October 2018

Zana Kibar, İstanbul - Hearing of the now-shuttered former Zaman newspaper Konya correspondent Şirin Kabakçı was held at İstanbul 35. High Criminal Court. Kabakçı stated that he is tried solely because of his journalistic work and that the case lacked solid evidence against him.

Kabakçı is accused of 'membership in a terrorist organization' and he has been imprisoned in Konya Prison for 18 months. He was not brought to the hearing in person, instead, he submitted his defense statement via the judicial conferencing system, SEGBİS. He remarked that the indictment did not involve any solid evidence against him and added that everything presented as evidence consists solely of his journalistic work.

'I don't have a bank account at Bank Asya'

Kabakçı responded to the claims made by the prosecution about him transferring money to Bank Asya and said, “I don't have an account at Bank Asya. It is not true that I made any transactions. There is no evidence against me, no evidence to find me guilty according to the law, or no evidence to support that I was acting with someone else's instructions. I was not a member of any association. I only did my job at Zaman newspaper. These are all my journalistic activities.”

'I went abroad with Davutoğlu'

Kabakçı objected to the fact that his trip abroad with 300 people is presented as evidence for crime in the indictment, reminded the court that Ahmet Davutoğlu (former Prime Minister and former Minister of Interior Affairs) was present at that trip with him and added: “We traveled abroad with 300 people. There were many famous names that attended the trip, including Ahmet Davutoğlu and the Justice and Development Party Konya MP, as well as the Konya mayor. Am I the only guilty one among these 300 people? If this trip is a crime, then Ahmet Davutoğlu is guilty as well.”

'I would've lost my job if I didn't attend that protest'

Şirin Kabakçı stated that his participation in the protest must be considered natural, in the nature of things. He also added that he would've lost his job if he did not participate in the protest.

Kabakçı seemed frantic whilst he was submitting his defense, he said, “There is nothing against me. No evidence. Why am I here? I will lose my mind. I have 3 daughters. Is there a rule of law in this country, or not?” The presiding judge interrupted Kabakçı and told him that the examples he is giving are already present in the case file, thus he had been repeating himself. Judge also asked Kabakçı whether he had diabetes because he seemed very angry and was not able to calm down. Kabakçı responded positively to the judge's question. He then continued his statement and said: “The 'informing letter' about me had no name, no surname on it. We don't know where this person lives, or what he does. There is no solid information in that letter.”

Next hearing is on 26 December

Şirin Kabakçı's lawyer Cumali Aydemir took the floor after his client completed his defense statement and remarked that many people have been acquitted from similar cases and requested Kabakçı's acquittal. The court decided to write to Konya Police Headquarters in order to identify the sender of the 'informing letter', ruled to keep Kabakçı in detention and adjourned the hearing until 26 December.