Court rules to release all three defendants in pretrial detention, including Barış Ceyhan, who had been in jail for nine months. The next hearing is scheduled for 22 November

 

A trial in which 12 defendants, including journalists Sibel Hürtaş, Hayri Demir and Barış Ceyhan, face criminal charges on account of their social media posts got under way on 6 September in Ankara.

In addition to P24, representatives from Turkish Journalists Union (TGS), Contemporary Journalists’ Association (ÇGD), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Human Rights Association (İHD) monitored the hearing at the 15th High Criminal Court of Ankara.

The defendants are indicted for “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “inciting the public to hatred and animosity” on account of social media posts featuring links to news coverage of Turkey’s military operation on the Syrian town of Afrin.

Ceyhan, a former employee of the shuttered Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, addressed the court via SEGBİS during the hearing, while the rest of the defendants and their lawyers were in attendance at the courtroom.

Ceyhan told the court that he was subjected to ill-treatment and was also placed in a solitary confinement cell for 17 days when he was first detained. Ceyhan and the other defendants rejected the accusations and said the accusations in the indictment were baseless.

The defense lawyers also told the court that they were not allowed access to the file during the investigation.

Following the completion of defense statements, the prosecutor requested that all three defendants in pretrial detention be released under judicial control measures on account of the time they spent in detention.

In its interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the court ruled to release all three defendants in pretrial detention, including Ceyhan, who had been in jail for nine months. The next hearing is scheduled for 22 November 2018.