The lawsuits which have been filed in relation with the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which was closed as per a Statutory Decree, continued at the İstanbul 2nd Penal Court of First Instance in İstanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan today (October 25).
The court board has announced its verdict in the case of former Co-Editor-in-Chief of Özgür Gündem Hüseyin Aykol, its former Managing Editor İnan Kızılkaya and writer İhsan Çaralan, who have been tried for "insulting the President" in an article that was published in the newspaper in the period, when they were participating in the Editors-in-Chief on Watch campaign.
While Aykol and Kızılkaya have been separately sentenced to 1 year, 10 months and 26 days in prison, Çaralan has been given a prison sentence of 11 months and 20 days. The court board, which has suspended the announcement of the verdict, has not given the same ruling for Aykol. Accordingly, the prison sentence of Hüseyin Aykol has not been suspended.
Reduction in prison sentences
In its ruling, the court sentenced Aykol and Kızılkaya to 1 year and 6 months in prison each on charge of "insulting the President". On the ground that "the defendants committed these acts in public", the court increased the prison sentences to 1 year and 9 months each. Considering that "defendants committed the same offence for multiple times", the court increased the prison sentences of the journalists to 2 years, 2 months and 8 days each.
Taking the behaviors of the journalists during the process of trial into considerations, the board of the 2nd Penal Court of First Instance has reduced the prison sentences of Aykol and Kızılkaya to 1 year, 10 days and 26 days each. While the announcement of the verdict of Kızılkaya has been suspended, the court has not given the same verdict for Aykol "since the necessary conditions have not arisen".
The court sentenced journalist İhsan Çaralan to 1 year in prison on the same charge and increased the sentence to 1 year and 2 months on the ground that "the act was committed in public". Taking the behavior of Çaralan during the process of trial into account, the prison sentence of the journalist has been reduced to 11 months and 20 days.
The announcement of the verdict of Çaralan has been suspended.
Trials of Özgür Gündem Editors-in-Chief on Watch
The Editors-in-Chief on Watch campaign of Özgür Gündem daily had begun on May 3, 2016 and ended on August 7, 2016. Daily was closed through the Statutory Decree No. 675 issued under the State of Emergency.
Investigations have been launched into 50 of the 56 Editors-in-Chief on Watch who have participated in the campaign. In 11 of these cases, the court has ordered not to prosecute and in 38 cases, a lawsuit has been brought. One case has been dismissed due to expiration of the Statute of Limitation in the investigation
Relying on the Articles 7(2) and 6(2) of the Anti-Terror Law No. 3713, the 38 Editors-in-Chief on Watch have stood trial on the charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" and for "publishing and spreading statements of terrorist organizations.
Cases in which court ruled no prosecution
İhsan Eliaçık, Sebahat Tuncel, Ahmet Abakay, Eşber Yağmurdereli, Hasip Kaplan, Işın Eliçin, Kemal Can, Mustafa Sönmez, Melda Onur, Uğur Karadaş, Nurcan Baysal.
Editors-in-Chief on Watch, against whom lawsuits were brought
A. Kumru Başer, Ahmet Nesin, Ayşe Batumlu, Ayşe Düzkan, Beyza Üstün,Can Dündar, Celal Başlangıç, Celalettin Can, Cengiz Baysoy, Çilem Küçükkkeleş, Derya Okatan, Dicle Anter, Erol Önderoğlu, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Faruk Balıkçı, Faruk Eren, Fehim Işık, Hüseyin Tahmaz, Hakkı Boltan, Hasan Cemal, Hasan Hayri Şanlı, İbrahim Bodur, İhsan Çaralan,Julide Kural, Murat Çelikkan, Murat Uyurkulak, Nadire Mater, Necmiye Alpay, Nevin Erdemir, Öncü Akgül, Ragıp Duran, Said Sefa, Şanar Yurdatapan, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Veysi Altay, Yıldırım Türker.
* Deniz Türkali's case was dismissed due to expiration of the Statute of Limitation in the investigation.
* The cases of Özgür Gündem daily's former editor-in-Chief Hüseyin Aykol, columnists Mehmet Ali Çelebi and Hüseyin Bektaş, who were on duty during the campaign, have been combined with the cases of Düzkan, Duran and Çelebi.
The 38 Editors-in-Chief on Watch have stood trial / are standing on the charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" and for "publishing and spreading statements of terrorist organizations under the Articles 7(2) and 6(2) of the Anti-Terror Law No. 3713.
Cases brought against 5 writers
Lawsuits were filed against Ömer Ağın and Dilşah Kocakaya due to their articles published on Özgür Gündem daily, while Celal Başlangıç was the Editor-in-Chief on Watch; against İmam Canpolat due to an article published while Cengiz Baysoy was the Editor-in-Chief on Watch, and against İlham Bakır due to an article published while Jülide Kural was the Editor-in-Chief on Watch.
Önderoğlu, Nesin, Korur-Fincancı in 10-days pre-trial detention
* Editors-in-Chief on Watch, Erol Önderoğlu, Ahmet Nesin and Şebnem Korur Fincancı were arrested in June 2016 and released after 10 days.
The next hearing of the three writers whose trials continue, will be held on December, 27, 2017.
68,000 TL (15,619 Euros) fine, 352 months and 15 days of prison sentence
Verdict has been rendered in the trials of Şanar Yurdatapan, İbrahim Bodur, Cengiz Baysoy, İmam Canpolat, Çilem Küçükkeleş, Nadire Mater, Yıldırım Türker, Hasan Cemal, Faruk Balıkçı, Dicle Anter, Derya Okatan, Kumru Başer, Ayşe Batumlu, Jülide Kural, İlham Bakır, Murat Uyurkulak, Murat Çelikkan, Beyza Üstün, Nevin Erdemir, Hakkı Boltan, Hasan Hayri Şanlı and Tuğrul Eryılmaz.
Şanlı, Erdemir, Tahmaz and Boltan have been acquitted.
Prison sentences of Çelikkan (18 months), Canpolat (15 months) not deferred
The court has ruled in 22 cases in total, that the editors-in-chief on watch be sentenced to 68,000 TL (15,619 Euros) fine and 235 months and 15 days in prison. All prison sentences except those of Canpolat and Çelikkan, have been deferred.
Çelikkan entered Kırklareli Prison on August 14, 2017 and was transferred to open prison on October 14, 2017. He was released on October 21, 2017.
Özgür Gündem Managing Editor İnan Kızılkaya is defendant in all 38 cases. His case was separated from the others in the trials together with the other Editors-in-Chief on Watch. İstanbul 23rd Heavy Criminal Court is combining Kızılkaya's case with the main trial.
Özgür Gündem main trial
In the main trial, Özgür Gündem Consultant Board members Necmiye Alpay, Aslı Erdoğan, Ragıp Zarakolu, Filiz Koçali, Eren Keskin, Editors-in-Chief Zana Kaya, İnan Kızılkaya, Kemal Sancılı and Bilge Oykut are standing trial.
Kızılkaya and Sancılı are in detention on remand.
Dates of the hearings
* January 17, 2019, Filiz Koçali, Aslı Erdoğan, Necmiye Alpay, Ragıp Zarakolu, Zana (Bilir) Kaya, İnan Kızılkaya, Eren Keskin, Kemal Sancılı, Bilge Aykut – İstanbul 23rd Heavy Penal Court, Özgür Gündem Main Trial.
* November 29, 2018, Can Dündar, Said Sefa and Veysi Altay - İstanbul 22nd Heavy Penal Court.
* January 28, 2019, Erol Önderoğlu, Ahmet Nesin, Şebnem Korur Fincancı - İstanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court.
* March 28, 2019, Eren Keskin, Reyhan Çapan, Reyhan Hacıoğlu, Nuray Özdoğan, Celalettin Can, Ayşe Batumlu, Ayşe Berktay, Filiz Koçali and Hüseyin Aykol - İstanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court.
* March 28, 2019, Faruk Eren, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Celal Başlangıç, Ömer Ağın, İhsan Çaralan, Celalettin Can, Fehim Işık, Öncü Akgül, Hüseyin Aykol, Veysel Kemer, Yüksel Oğuz, Mehmet Şirin Taşdemir and Dilşah Karakaya - İstanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court.
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