Documentarist, video-activist and journalist Kazım Kızıl was arrested by the police on April 17, 2017 during a demonstration held in protest of the April 16 constitutional referendum results in the Bornova district of the western province of Izmir, along with journalist Anıl Deveci and 19 protesters.
Kızıl and the others were taken into custody on charges of violating Turkey’s Law No. 2911 on Demonstrations and Protest Marches. However, when he was referred to the prosecutor’s office and later to the court on April 21, 2017, Kızıl was imprisoned on charges of “insulting the president.” Six others were put under arrest by court order, while the other protesters and journalist Deveci were released on judicial control terms.
The indictment prepared into Kızıl accused him of “insulting the president” in his social media posts as well as violating the Demonstrations and Protest Marches Law. The prosecutor demanded between two years and six months to seven years for the journalist.
Kızıl appeared before a court for the first time on July 10, 2017 at the İzmir 33rd Criminal Court of First Instance. In his defense statement, Kızıl said he was following the April 17 protest as a journalist. He also noted that his tweets that were said to be insulting the president fell under the scope of freedom of speech, adding that none of them contained calls to violence or hate speech.
The judges ruled to release Kızıl and the remaining six protesters in pretrial detention under judicial control measures and adjourned the trial to October 16, 2017.
At the second hearing on October 16, the court accepted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s application to become an intervening party in the case, and adjourned the trial to January 15, 2018.
The latest hearing of the trial was held on April 16, when the İzmir 33rd Criminal Court of First Instance set June 4, 2018, as the date of the next hearing.
Kızıl, who is also one of the founding members of the “Kamera Sokak (Camera Street)” citizen-journalist collective, still faces trial although he has been released.