Expression Interrupted

Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.

Teacher Ayşe Çelik acquitted

Teacher Ayşe Çelik acquitted

Convicted in 2017 of “propaganda” over televised comments, Çelik appears in first hearing of her retrial after Constitutional Court ruling

School teacher Ayşe Çelik appeared in an Istanbul court for her retrial on the charge of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist group” on 26 June 2019. The Constitutional Court’s 9 May 2019 ruling that found a rights violation in Çelik's case also called for a retrial.

In the hearing held at the 2nd High Criminal Court of Bakırköy, Çelik was acquitted of the charge she was sentenced and imprisoned for in 2017.

Çelik was convicted in April 2017 and sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison for connecting to a live TV show in 2016 and saying, “Don’t let children die” concerning the curfews imposed on Turkey’s southeastern provinces in 2015 and 2016.

Evaluating Çelik’s individual application, the Constitutional Court had ruled that Çelik’s right to freedom of expression was violated and ordered a retrial for the elimination of the violation.

Çelik was in attendance along with her lawyer Ramazan Demir at her first retrial hearing.

During the hearing, Çelik addressed court and said that neither did she intend to commit a crime nor did she believe the act she was sentenced for was a crime. Asking the court to take into consideration the Constitutional Court’s ruling in her case, she requested to be acquitted.

Lawyer Demir addressed court after and said that the Constitutional Court’s ruling had negated all the reasons given for the verdict that was delivered by the Bakırköy court. He added that his client should not be acquitted due to a lack of evidence but because according to law the act itself is not a crime. 

In his final opinion the prosecutor requested Çelik’s acquittal based on the Constitutional Court’s ruling and reasoned judgement.

Taking into consideration the Constitutional Court’s verdict, the court acquitted Çelik. The court also reminded Çelik that she has the right to file a compensation case over her unjust trial and imprisonment.