Erhan Akbaş, ERCİŞ - Journalist İdris Yılmaz was sentenced to 1 year 3 months imprisonment for "slander via the press" due to a news story he reported about rangers hitting a child.
İdris Yılmaz was initially arrested for "inciting the public to hatred and hostility" on January 22, due to his social media posts criticising the Turkish state’s military action in Afrin, Syria. Although his detention related to this case ended on May 16, he remained in prison due to a new investigation started in February, with the charge "membership in a terrorist organization".
Another case of Yılmaz was held in Erciş Court of First Instance, in which he is being tried for reporting the violent actions of rangers towards a child, facing the charge "slander via the press". Yılmaz joined the hearing via Sound and Video Information System (SEGBİS) from Elazığ High Security Prison where he has been detained for almost 6 months.
Yılmaz: I am being tried instead of the rangers
The attorneys of the plaintiffs were present in the courtroom whereas the rangers themselves were absent. The hearing started with identity checks. Yılmaz made additions to his prior defense and stated: "I am a journalist who works for the public interest. The public servants mentioned in my news story have committed official misconduct, through their violent actions towards a defenseless child. My story has visual evidence and it has been written upon the statements of eye witnesses. The ones that should be tried are those people, however I ended up being charged. I want the court board to evaluate my news story in the scope of freedom of press and thought, and demand my acquittal."
YILMAZ’S ATTORNEY: RANGERS ADMITTED THEIR ACTIONS
Yılmaz’s attorney Savaş Avcı stated: "The bill of indictment prepared about my client, is a terrible document. How can the prosecution state that it has no judicial discretion in the bill of indictment? There are two plaintiffs in the case. They are both rangers. Children try to go somewhere and the rangers prevent them. The rangers gave their statements in the first hearing and stated that they acted in order to fend them off, therefore admitted their actions."
The court board made its decision accordingly to the opinion of the prosecutor and sentenced İdris Yılmaz to 1 year 3 months imprisonment on the grounds that he committed the crime "slander via the press".