Nine journalists on trial as judicial year starts in Turkey

The former editor-in-chief of critical daily publication Evrensel is among nine reporters who will be tried this week over their journalism-related works in Turkey.

Evrensel reported on Monday that three of the nine are its journalists who will be tried as the judicial year in Turkey has started as of September.

Cem Simsek will be tried on Tuesday before the Istanbul 16th Criminal Court as the daily did not remove a news report from its website, despite a publication ban on the content.

On Wednesday, Columnist Yusuf Karatas also from Evrensel will stand trial in the Diyarbakir 9th Heavy Penal Court with the accusation of forming and managing terror organization, due to his previous participation in panels and workshops.

Another Evrensel-related court case in the Bakirkoy 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance accuses the editor Simsek of insulting Turkey’s Finance Minister Berat Albayrak in a report. During a previous court hearing, Simsek said the report had just quoted a finance expert but had not insulted anyone.

Kemal Demir, who was a camera operator at TV10 Channel which was shut down by a governmental state of emergency decree, has been tried over knowingly and willingly aiding an [terrorist] organization, before the Istanbul 28th Criminal Court. After being held in prison for more than a year, Demir was released with judicial control during the latest hearing.

Program Coordinator Aysegul Dogan from IMC TV, another shutdown-by-decree channel, also faces forming and managing an armed organization, charges that could see her sentenced to up to 22 years and six months if convicted.

She is accused of interviewing the administrators of the Congress for a Democratic Society (DTK), a pro-Kurdish political movement, and of attending some events. Dogan will go on trial in the Diyarbakir 9th Heavy Penal Court.

Austrian journalist and researcher Max Zirngast who is currently studying in the Middle East Technical University (ODTU) will appear in the Ankara 26th Heavy Penal Court on Wednesday on a charge of membership to a terror organization.

Former daily Zaman Columnist Mumtaz’er Turkone will stand trial on Wednesday with the accusation of writing a column in which he allegedly insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The trial will be reportedly held at the Bakirkoy 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.

A suit for damages lodged by Deniz Yucel, a German-Turkish journalist and former Turkey correspondent for the German daily Die Welt, will be held in the Istanbul 17th Heavy Penal Court.

On February 16, 2018, the correspondent was released pending trial in Turkey on charges that include making propaganda of a terrorist organization and public incitement to hatred or hostility.

Yucel claimed that he was subjected to torture in the Silivri Prison where he was held in pre-trial detention for almost a year. He holds Erdogan personally responsible for the torture he experienced.

The Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance will be holding its second hearing against Lawyer Veysel Ok, the co-director at the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA),  a Turkish non-profit organization founded in late 2017 to respond to an urgent yet growing need for going back to democracy and normalization in Turkey. The director is accused of insulting Turkish judiciary institutions.

Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has detained thousands of rights activists, journalists, and lawyers since a failed military coup attempt on July 2016.

Seven journalists detained by Turkish authorities: CPJ

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