TV10 cameraman Kemal Demir’s trial is adjourned until September

3 May 2019

İstanbul - Second hearing of the trial where since-shuttered TV10’s cameraman Kemal Demir and TV10 staff Kemal Karagöz face “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization without being a member” charges resumed at İstanbul 28th High Criminal Court today. International Press Institute’s (IPI) Turkey Advocacy Coordinator Caroline Stockford and European Parliament member Rebecca Harms were among those monitored the hearing.

Although the hearing was scheduled to start at 09:50, it could begin only at 11:30 due to delays in previous hearings. Presiding Judge Ersin Özarslan did not let two audience members inside the courtroom, claiming that “they have been chewing gums and playing with their phones the whole time.” Following the judge’s order, these two people were taken outside. Defense lawyers pointed out that these two audience members were journalists and demanded them to be let inside, insisting that it would not be right to go ahead with the hearing without journalists being able to monitor the hearing. The judge replied, “I will put your file at the end of the list,” then. Following a brief argument, the judge decided to adjourn the hearing until 14:00.

The hearing began at 14:30 and the judge did not let journalists in. Kemal Demir presented his defense statement and denied the accusations. Noting that he had many duties at TV10, including making coffee and operating cameras. In reply to the allegations that he took money from a terrorist organization, Demir replied: “I managed financial issues at TV10 as well. I do not know how money transfers to the company named SVS were taking place.” Kemal Karagöz denied the accusations as well.  

The court announced its interim decision and rejected Demir’s demand to have his travel ban lifted but accepted his request to be exempted from hearings.

The trial is adjourned until 10 September.

What happened?

Since-shuttered TV10 employees Kemal Karagöz and Kemal Demir were taken into custody on 25 November 2017 in İstanbul as their house was being raided by the police.

They were brought before a court on 1 December 2017. While Kemal Karagöz was released with judicial control measures, cameraman Kemal Demir was arrested and sent to Silivri Prison No. 5.

An indictment was prepared for Karagöz and Demir, accusing them of membership in a terrorist organization [PKK/KCK]. The indictment noted that they “procured materials in order to launch a TV channel in the name of PKK/KCK” and have been responsible for making payments in this purpose.

Demir stayed in prison for 6 months while the indictment was being prepared. First hearing of his trial was held at İstanbul 28th High Criminal Court on 3 July 2018. The court sent his file over to Mersin; however, Mersin 8th High Criminal Court also ruled for non-jurisdiction and sent the case file over to the Court of Jurisdictional Disputes.

Penal Department no. 5 of the Supreme Court reached a judgement in this dispute and sent the file back to İstanbul 28th High Criminal Court the case to be reopened there.

Kemal Demir was released during his first hearing on 9 February 2019.