Şahin, Gayıp, and their two co-defendants, Ferhat Harun Pehlivan and Gülsen İmre, have been in detention on remand since April as part of this case

The trial of Etkin news agency (ETHA) editor Semiha Şahin and reporter Pınar Gayıp on terrorism-related charges resumed on 5 December in Istanbul.

Şahin, Gayıp, and their two co-defendants, Ferhat Harun Pehlivan and Gülsen İmre, have been in detention on remand since April as part of this case.

P24 monitored the second hearing of the case, overseen by the 23rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul.

Addressing the court for their defense statements during the hearing, both Şahin and Gayıp denied the accusations and said that this case was an attempt at criminalizing journalism.

Şahin told the court that she has been jailed for the past eight months because of being a journalist and because of her political identity. She said she deemed the continuation of her detention a punishment imposed on journalism.

Gayıp’s lawyer Kader Tonç told the court that the grounds for the accusations against Gayıp were only six social media posts shared by the journalist, and that all of them were dispatches by ETHA. The lawyer said that her client’s pretrial detention on account of news posts that are held as evidence for the “membership in a terrorist organization” charge was unlawful and requested for Gayıp’s release.

Şahin’s lawyer Özcan Karakoç also told the court that four Facebook posts and two Twitter posts by his client were the grounds for the accusation. Noting that the said posts were from the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, the lawyer added that there has been no investigation against Şahin at the time of these posts. Karakoç also requested for Şahin’s release.

The prosecution then requested that all jailed defendants in the case be remanded in detention.

In its interim ruling following a brief recess, the court released Pehlivan and İmre under judicial control measures while keeping Şahin and Gayıp behind bars. The court also ruled to hand over the case file to the prosecutor for the drafting of the final opinion and adjourned the trial until 30 January 2019.

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