Journalist and columnist Nuriye Ural, best known for the interviews she conducted with various public opinion leaders, was arrested at 6 a.m. on July 27, 2016 as part of an operation into 47 columnists and executives Zaman newspaper, shut down under Turkey’s State of Emergency.

She was then imprisoned pending trial on July 30, 2016 under an order from the Istanbul 4th Criminal Judgeship of Peace and sent to Bakırköy Prison.

In her police interrogation, she said she had written against the coup, she was perplexed because she was asked about an article 20 years ago which was being presented as evidence for her link to the coup and that she had no connection to the FETÖ/PDY organization, which is the name given to the Fethullah Gülen network by the Turkish government, which claims that this group was behind the 15 July 2016 coup attempt.

She was released on October 12, 2016 on the grounds that there was “a possibility that the nature of the alleged crime” might change.

An indictment was finally prepared into Ural and 29 others in the case on April 10, 2017. She is only mentioned twice in the 64-page document, which includes an article she wrote an article published on December 24, 2013, titled “How to prevent corruption?” along with a number of other articles by other writers which the prosecution presents as “evidence” that the columnists were trying to “legitimize the purposes and methods of FETÖ.”

The second mention of her name is in a paragraph where it is stated that Ural and nine other former Zaman columnists “carried out their duties within the hierarchy of the FETÖ/PDY terrorist organization with articles that complemented the organizational goal and purpose, both with those articles that are openly an element
of crime and those who don’t appear to include any criminal elements.” The prosecution says Ural and the other writers wrote articles that served as “preliminary preparation” for the military coup attempt.

The prosecution wants Ural and others to be punished on charges of “membership of the FETÖ/PDY terrorist organization, forming the media leg of the group, attempting to overthrow the Constitutional order, the parliament and the government.”

The indictment was accepted by the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court. There are a total of 31 defendants in the case, including former Zaman executive Adil Gülçek, whose file was also merged with the case later. The first hearing took place on 18-19 Eylül, 2017 at a courtroom on the Silivri Prison grounds, where the defendants, 22 of whom had been imprisoned for 418 days, appeared before a judge for the first time.

At the end of the two day session, the court ruled to lift restrictions on access to lawyers — which previously allowed a visit of only one hour per week– but also ruled to keep the 22 imprisoned defendants in pre-trial detention.

Ural, and other defendants who are not in prison, presented their defense statements in the second hearing, held on December 8, 2017. The court ruled at the end of the hearing to release three imprisoned defendants pending further trial. It also ruled that an international travel ban imposed on defendants who are not jailed, including Ural, will remain in place.

The third hearing in the case will be held on April 5, 2018.