Reporter Beritan Canözer of the shuttered Jin News Agency (JINHA) was arrested on 16 December 2015 for allegedly being “excited” while covering a protest march against the curfew imposed in the Sur district of Diyarbakır. She spent three days in police custody and was later referred to the Prosecutor’s Office.
Canözer was interrogated by the Prosecutor’s Office who requested her to be arrested for allegedly “knowingly and willingly aiding a terrorist organization” and subsequently she was referred to the court on duty. Canözer was arrested over her social media posts on 19 December 2015 and was sent to the Diyarbakır E-Type Prison.
According to the indictment submitted in January 2016, Canözer’s notes and social media posts were considered as “criminal evidence.” The prosecutor who drafted the indictment requested for Canözer to be punished for “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “membership in a terrorist organization.”
On 13 March 2016, Canözer was transferred from the Diyarbakır E-Type Prison to the Bakırköy Women’s Prison in Istanbul. Canözer could not attend her first courtroom hearing held at the 4th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır because she refused to give her statement via the courtroom video-conferencing system SEGBİS. The prosecutor had been seeking a sentence of 5 to 10 years for Canözer. Taking into consideration the amount of time Canözer spent in prison, the court ruled to release Canözer.
In the final hearing held at the 4th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır, Canözer was sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison on the charge of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist group.” The court deferred the sentence by 5 years.
A second investigation was launched into Canözer on the charge of “disseminating propaganda” for the interviews she conducted with news sources. At the first hearing held at the 4th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır the court decided to acquit Canözer. After the prosecutor objected to the decision, the case was referred to the Gaziantep Regional Court of Justice. The decision to acquit was reversed by the appellate court, which then referred the case to the 4th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır for a re-trial. The court sentenced Canözer to 1 year and 3 months.
In a new case against her, Canözer faces charges of “terrorist organization membership” and “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” for her coverage of the violence suffered in the Sur district of Diyarbakır during curfew provisions. The first hearing of this trial was held on 20 March 2019 at the 9th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır. Canözer and her lawyer, Resul Tamur, attended the hearing. The next hearing is scheduled for 26 June 2019.
The second hearing of the trial took place on 26 June 2019 at the 9th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır. Canözer and her lawyer Resul Tamur were in attendance in the courtroom. Testimony by witnesses who testified against Canözer were heard during the hearing. Canözer rejected the claims in the witness testimonies.
The prosecution then presented to the court their final opinion, requesting the court to convict Canözer based on testimony by Canan Ceylan, Rıfayi İpek, Mehmet Salih Ateş and Baran Aslan, who have been facing criminal investigation on allegations of “membership in a terrorist group.”
The court then adjourned the trial until October, granting Canözer and her lawyer additional time to prepare her defense statement.
Jin News reporter Canözer and her lawyer were in attendance at the third and final hearing of the case on 16 October 2019. Issuing its verdict at the end of the hearing, the 9th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır acquitted Canözer of the charge against her.