Şırnak Court rules to keep journalist Ziya Ataman in jail

7 August 2018

A Şırnak Court ruled to keep former DİHA reporter Ziya Ataman, who stands accused of terror related crimes, in prison in a court hearing on 7 August.

The fourth hearing of the trial where Ataman is being tried along with 18 others was heard by the Şırnak 1. High Criminal Court.

Zelal Pelin Doğan, a lawyer with the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) which represents Ataman in the case, was present in the courtroom along with lawyers and relatives of the other defendants. Suspects who are imprisoned joined the hearing via the judicial conferencing system known as SEGBİS, whereas other defendants were absent in the courtroom.

Ataman used to work as a distributor selling pro-Kurdish newspapers in Şırnak province and he received a number of death threats. Prior to his detention in 2016, he was working with Dicle News Agency (DİHA), a pro-Kurdish media outlet which was shut down by a cabinet decree in the same year.

The indictment accuses him of participating in clashes that took place in the Beytüşşebap district of Şırnak on 25 September 2015. The only evidence against Ataman is a testimony from a witness, who later withdrew his statement saying that it had been extracted under torture.

Ataman gave his defence via SEGBİS. Stating that the indictment was devoid of logic and lacked solid evidence to back the prosecutor’s claims, he said: "I want you to know that my one and only weapon is my pen. I request my acquittal."

Prosecutor dismisses torture claim

Lawyers of the defendants recalled that witness K.A. had given his statement under torture and was forced to sign a statement allegedly fabricated by security forces. Lawyers later asked the prosecution whether they had conducted an investigation into K.A.’s claims, however the prosecution’s response was negative. The prosecutor stated that he had not investigated the torture claims and requested the rejection of all requests made by the defense.

After the prosecutor submitted his final opinion, the court ruled to keep Ataman and all other imprisoned defendants in prison citing the graveness of the accusations and adjourned the hearing until October 26.

Ahmet Kanbal, Şırnak