Trial where Özgür Gündem executives and writers are charged with Article 301 adjourned until October

16 May 2019

İstanbul - Thirteenth hearing of the trial where since shuttered Özgür Gündem daily’s former Editors-in-Chief Zana (Bilir) Kaya and Hüseyin Aykol, Managing Editor İnan Kızılkaya, and columnist Hatip Dicle are charged with Turkish Penal Code’s notorious Article 301 (denigrating the Turkish nation) because of news reports and columns published in the paper, was held at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of the First Instance today.

None of the defendants attended the hearing. Lawyer Özcan Kılıç noted that the Turkish Grand Assembly needs to revise Article 301, especially following the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECtHR) Taner Akçam v. Turkey judgement, further adding that the article’s current language is controversial.

Noting that there is neither criminal intent nor a crime in the case file, Kılıç reminded the court of the recent Constitutional Court judgement regarding school teacher Ayşe Çelik, who was sentenced to prison for saying “don’t let children die” on national television. Kılıç emphasized that this case must be considered within the freedom of press and expression also.

The judge decided to wait for the execution of the arrest warrant issued for defendant Hatip Dicle and adjourned the trial until 10 October.