Fincancı, Önderoğlu appear before court for 5th hearing in trial on “propaganda” charges for taking part in campaign for Özgür Gündem

The fifth hearing in a trial against human rights defender and academic Şebnem Korur Financı, Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) Turkey Representative Erol Önderoğlu and mathematician and writer Ahmet Nesin for engaging in a solidarity campaign for the shuttered daily Özgür Gündem was held on April 18 at the 13th High Criminal Court of Istanbul. 

In addition to P24, the hearing at the Istanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan was monitored inside the courtroom by representatives from the Embassy of Norway and the Consulate-General of France.

Fincancı, Önderoğlu and their lawyers were present at the hearing, where Nesin did not attend. Noting that Nesin, who lives abroad, still hasn’t given a defense statement despite an arrest order, the court adjourned the trial and set October 9, 2018, as the date of the next hearing.

A criminal investigation was launched into Fincancı, Önderoğlu and Nesin for standing in as co-editor-in-chief of the Özgür Gündem daily for a day as part of a campaign launched on May 3, 2016, World Press Freedom Day.

An Istanbul court on June 20, 2016, jailed all three pending trial. The indictments against Fincancı, Önderoğlu and Nesin, issued on June 22, sought up to 14.5 years in prison for each of them on charges of “openly inciting to committing crimes,” “praising crime and criminals” and “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization” as per article 7/2 of the Law on Fight Against Terrorism (TMK) and article 214 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

Fincancı and Önderoğlu were released pending trial 10 days later, on June 30, 2016, by the 13th High Criminal Court of Istanbul after lawyers objected to their detention on remand. On July 1, Nesin was also released pending trial. The first hearing of the case took place November 8, 2016, at the 13th High Criminal Court of Istanbul.

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