The 2nd High Criminal Court of Muş rules to keep Sayılğan behind bars pending the appeal process

Jailed journalist İdris Sayılğan, who has been in pre-trial detention for over two years, was given a prison sentence of 8 years and 3 months at the end of the sixth hearing of his trial on the charge of “membership in a terrorist group.” The trial court also ruled for the continuation of Sayılğan’s detention.

The hearing took place on 25 January at the 2nd High Criminal Court of Muş. 

Sayılğan, a former reporter for the shuttered Dicle news agency (DİHA), has been in detention on remand since 24 October 2016.

Sayılğan was brought to the courtroom for the final hearing from the Trabzon Prison.

Three people from the families of each defendant in the case as well as press members were admitted to the courtroom as viewers. All members of the audience were subjected to body search. They were also ordered to turn off their mobile phones.

Before addressing the court for his defense statement, Sayılğan said he wanted to file an official complaint with the court concerning the strip search and ill-treatment he was subjected to.

Sayılğan later went on to make his defense statement, in which he asserted that his phone calls were illegally tapped. He also said the accusations in the indictment were baseless. Sayılğan said he would not accept for his journalistic work to be criminalized and requested for his acquittal.

Addressing the court following his client, Sayılğan’s lawyer Barış Oflas said all the accusations against the journalist were based on Sayılğan’s communication with his sources as a journalist.

In a statement to P24 following the hearing, Oflas said the court had refused to grant a reduction in the sentence they had imposed on Sayılğan on the grounds that his “defense statement went beyond the limits of defense” and “was accusatory against the court.”

Oflas said they would appeal the verdict.

In the meantime, an individual application in which Sayılğan’s lawyers complained about his lengthy pre-trial detention is pending before the European Court of Human Rights.

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