27-year-old Ayşenur Parıldak, a former court reporter for the shuttered Zaman and a student of law at the Ankara University, was arrested on the campus of her school on August 3, 2016 and imprisoned pending trial on August 11 on charges of “being a member of FETÖ terrorist organization.”
Parıldak faces a prison term of 7.5 to 15 years on the formal charges of terrorist group membership. She appeared before a court in February for first hearing six months after her imprisonment. On May 1, Ankara 14th High Criminal Court ordered her release pending trial on judicial control and subject to a travel ban but she was rearrested hours later upon objection to her release by the prosecutor who cited new evidence regarding her alleged use of ByLock, an encrypted messaging application which authorities say is used exclusively by members of the Gülenist network and proof of “FETÖ membership.”
Parıldak was convicted and sentenced to seven years and six months in jail for “membership in an armed terrorist organization” at the end of the hearing on November 21, 2017. In her final defense statement to the court, Parıldak rejected the accusation that she had used ByLock. She also denied that her social media posts cited by the prosecution constituted a crime and requested her acquittal.
The court originally sentenced Parıldak to nine years in jail but then reduced the sentence to seven years and six months, taking into consideration her “good conduct” during the trial. The court also ruled that Parıldak remain in prison while the verdict is appealed.
Parıldak is currently behind bars in Ankara Women’s Prison.