25 October 2019:
21 November 2029:
None of the defendants were in attendance. They were represented by their lawyer Özcan Kılıç. The prosecution said they reiterated the final opinion they submitted during the previous hearing and asked the court to sentence Aykol.
Kılıç asked the court for a continuance for the preparation of the final defense statements in response to the prosecutor’s final opinion. The court ruled to notify the defendants of the prosecutor’s final opinion and adjourned the trial until 20 February 2020, giving the defendants additional time for their statements.
10 October 2019:
The four defendants are accused of “publicly degrading the government, the judiciary or the police force” and “publicly degrading the Turkish nation, the Turkish Republic and the Parliament” under TCK Article 301.
This was the 14th hearing in the case. In its interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the court ruled to wait for the execution of the arrest warrant against Hatip Dicle and adjourned the trial until 6 February 2020.
22 August 2019:
Letter from Jailed Journalist Aykol: I May Receive More Sentences
"We live in such a period that if you are not threatened with arrest, you almost certainly doubt your own stance," Aykol says.
The person who addresses the public with these words is Hüseyin Aykol, co-editor-in-chief of the daily Özgür Gündem, which was shut down upon a statutory decree in 2016.
Aykol has been under arrest since July 2019 for serving as editor-in-chief of the newspaper.
In the letter he sent to bianet from the Sincan Prison in the capital Ankara, he sends his greetings to everyone who tries to make the voices of the imprisoned journalists heard.
"Although we received our share from the statutory decrees after the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the decision to 'destroy' us was taken in 2015 and we were showered with lawsuits," Aykol says in the beginning of the letter. "Our organizations were raided and sealed. The notorious KCK Press trial began," he continues.
"These are dark times"
Here is the letter of Aykol:
"To draw attention to this situation, the 'Editors-in-Chief on Watch campaign was launched. Thanks to the 100 journalists, academics and intellectuals who wrote their names on the copyright page for me for a day, the number of lawsuits against me remained at 60.
"Sixty files were combined because they were similar to each other, and I have been arrested from a file approved by the court of appeal. For now, I have a sentence of 3 years and 9 months in prison. But I may serve 15 or 16 years in prison with files pending approval.
"I am not surprised that I have been detained and arrested. Moreover, we live in such a period that if you are not threatened with arrest, you almost certainly doubt your own stance.
"The members of the 'Advisory Board', which has never been collected in one of my newspapers and has no official function, are on trial and the trials of our 'editors-in-chief on watch' are continuing. In fact, our two dear journalist friends, Murat Çelikkan and Ayşe Düzkan, had to go to prison.
"What could be as natural as the imprisonment of Hüseyin Aykol, who was an executive for all the 51 newspapers that have been published in the 30-year tradition of Free Press, is put in prison?
"Joke aside, our country is going through a very dark period. I do not think that history will ever remember those responsible for what we experienced with gratitude."
CANSU PİŞKİN, İSTANBUL
The 12th hearing in the trial of Eren Keskin and Hüseyin Aykol, the former co-editors-in-chief of shuttered Özgür Gündem newspaper, its former responsible managing editor Reyhan Çapan and journalist Hasan Başak on the charges of “praising crime and criminal,” “incitement to commit crimes” and “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” took place on 17 July 2019 at the 13th High Criminal Court of Istanbul. P24 monitored the hearing, which was also followed by representatives from Article 19.
Neither Aykol, who was sent to prison just last week to serve a previous conviction in another Özgür Gündem trial, nor his co-defendants were in attendance. They were represented by lawyer Özcan Kılıç.
During the previous hearing, Kılıç had requested for the case file to be merged with the ongoing “Özgür Gündem main trial,” overseen by the 23rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul. The presiding judge informed those in attendance during Wednesday’s hearing that the court has only accepted Kılıç’s request in respect of Eren Keskin.
The prosecutor then submitted their final opinion, asking the court to convict Aykol, Çapan and Başak of “praising crime and criminal” and “incitement to commit crime.” The prosecutor also sought prison terms for Aykol and Başak on the “propaganda” charge, while they asked the court to convict Çapan of “systematically disseminating terrorism propaganda.” Granting time for the preparation of the final defense statements in response to the prosecutor’s final opinion, the court adjourned the trial until 21 November 2019.
Veteran journalist Hüseyin Aykol, the former co-editor-in-chief of the shuttered pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem, was sent to prison on 11 July 2019 to serve a 3-year and 9-month sentence he was given in 2018.
Aykol was taken into custody at noon on 11 July at his home in Ankara and was taken to the Sincan Courthouse. After the completion of the procedures at the courthouse, Aykol was sent to the Sincan F Type Prison in Ankara.
Aykol was convicted of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” in January 2018 at the final hearing of a trial where his co-defendants included Mehmet Ali Çelebi and Ayşe Düzkan, who were among journalists who participated in the “substitute editor-in-chief” campaign for Özgür Gündem in 2016. The sentences given to Aykol and his co-defendants were upheld by the 3rd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice on 29 November 2018.
Aykol is currently a defendant in 63 separate trials, some of which are pending before appellate courts.
7 People Sentenced to Prison in Özgür Gündem Trial
İstanbul - BIA News Desk22 May 2019, Wednesday 09:14
The final hearing of the case, where the columnists and executives of the closed Özgür Gündem newspaper were tried for "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" and "openly inciting to commit crime", was held at the İstanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court yesterday (May 21).
The court has ruled Ayşe Batumlu and Reyhan Hacıoğlu shall be each sentenced to 1 year, 3 months; Eren Keskin and Reyhan Çapan to 3 years, 9 months; Hüseyin Aykol to 2 years, 1 month; Hüseyin Güçlü and Tahir Temel to 1 year, 6 months in prison for "terror propaganda."
The prison sentences of Reyhan Hacıoğlu and Ayşe Batumlu have been deferred as per the Article 51/1 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).
The court has also ruled that the case files of Filiz Koçali, Enver Baysal, Hasan Başak, İhsan Yorulmaz, Muzaffer Ayata, Serbest Zan and Züleyha Yılmaz shall be separated on the ground that the warrants against them cannot be executed and their testimonies have not been taken.
As for the defendants Ayşe Berktay, Celalettin Can, Cemal Bozkurt, Çetin Ulu, Nuray Özdoğan, Emrullah Kurcan, Ergin Atabey and Özlem Söyler, they have been acquitted of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization." The charges brought against Bülent Alp have been dropped as the statute of limitations has been violated as per the Press Law.
Excuse of Hacıoğlu not accepted
Eren Keskin and Reyhan Çapan, two of the 23 defendants tried in the case, and Özcan Kılıç and Sercan Korkmaz, the attorneys of the defendants, attended the final hearing. The hearing was also followed by representatives from the Embassy of Ireland.
The petition of Reyhan Hacıoğlu, who stated that she could not attend the hearing due to her hunger strike, was rejected by the court board on the ground that it was the final hearing of the case.
Keskin: I don't believe I committed a crime
The prosecutor of the hearing indicated that he repeated his opinion as to the accusations that he presented in the hearing dated October 26, 2017.
Presenting her statement of defense as to the accusations, Eren Keskin stated the following:
"I support freedom of thought and expression. I became the editor-in-chief because I supported the freedom of publishing. I do not believe that I committed a crime. I do not believe that thought is a crime, either. I request my acquittal."
Reyhan Çapan also indicated that she did not commit any crime and demanded her acquittal.
Prison sentence for 7 people
Announcing its judgement, the court has ruled that seven people shall be sentenced to prison and prison sentences of Hacıoğlu and Batumlu shall be deferred on the ground of "their verdicts of conviction that have not yet become definite and their attitude and behavior during the hearing."
As the warrants against seven defendants have not been executed, their files have been separated. The case of one defendant has dropped due to statute of limitations. The court has ruled for the acquittal of eight people.
28 March 2019:
A trial in which journalists Hüseyin Aykol, Zana Kaya and İnan Kızılkaya -- former co-editors-in-chief and managing editor of the shuttered daily Özgür Gündem -- and Kurdish politician Hatip Dicle stand accused for the news stories and articles published in the newspaper resumed on 21 February in Istanbul.
The four defendants are accused of “publicly degrading the government, the judiciary or the police force” and “publicly degrading the Turkish nation, the Turkish Republic and the Parliament.”
None of the defendants were in attendance at the hearing, which was the 11th in the case.
Issuing an interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance ruled to issue an arrest warrant for Dicle and adjourned the trial until 28 March.
A Turkish appeals court approved prison sentences for five journalists who had taken part in a campaign to release other arrested journalists working at pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem newspaper in 2016, Duvar news site reported on Thursday.
The Istanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court had previously sentenced Hüseyin Aykol to 3 years and 9 months in prison and Hüseyin Bektaş, Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Ayşe Düzkan and Ragıp Duran to 1 year and 6 months each. But lawyers of the five journalists later appealed to the regional court, which upheld the verdict on Thursday. It said that evidence against the journalists was sufficient, the evaluation made by the lower court regarding the journalists’ acts was correct, and those acts fell under the definition of terrorist propaganda in Turkish criminal law.
Turkish prosecutors launched investigations into 50 of 56 journalists who participated in the campaign by acting as editors-in-chief in rotation. The courts ordered lawsuits to be brought against 38 journalists on terrorist propaganda charges. Özgür Gündem was among 15 Kurdish media organisations officially closed down and seized under a state of emergency decree following a failed coup attempt in 2016.
An Istanbul court on 25 October convicted journalists Hüseyin Aykol, the former co-editor-in-chief of the shuttered pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem, İnan Kızılkaya, the newspaper’s managing editor, and Evrensel columnist İhsan Çaralan of “insulting the president” in an article published in Özgür Gündem.
The 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance of Istanbul initially sentenced Aykol and Kızılkaya to 18-month prison terms. The sentences were increased to 1 year and 9 months on grounds that the offense was committed publicly and then to 2 years, 2 months and 8 days on grounds that the same offense was committed multiple times. Taking into account the journalists’ good behavior during the proceedings, the court then reduced both sentences to 1 year 10 months and 26 days.
As for Çaralan, the court initially ruled for a 1-year sentence. It then increased the jail term to 1 year and 2 months on grounds that the offense was committed publicly. On grounds of good behavior during proceedings, the court reduced Çaralan’s sentence to 11 months and 20 days.
The court deferred the sentences for Kızılkaya and Çaralan by five years, but Aykol risks going to prison in the event his sentence is upheld by an appeals court. Source
Another trial on the same day, where Özgür Gündem editors and columnists Eren Keskin, Reyhan Çapan, Reyhan Hacıoğlu, Hüseyin Aykol, Filiz Koçali, Ayşe Berktay, Nuray Özdoğan, Celalettin Can and Ayşe Batumlu face “terrorism propaganda” and “overtly praising crime and criminal” charges over some articles and reports published in the now-defunct daily, was also adjourned.
Lawyer for Eren Keskin, Özcan Kılıç, requested that Keskin’s file be separated and merged with the Özgür Gündem main trial, overseen by the Istanbul 23rd High Criminal Court, as she was also a defendant in that case on similar grounds.
It was also revealed at the hearing that the file of another defendant who published articles in Özgür Gündem, Züleyha Yılmaz, had been merged with the case file. The court ruled to request the indictment and court reports on previous sessions from the Istanbul 23rd High Criminal Court and adjourned the trial until 28 March 2019.
Özgür Gündem solidarity trial adjourned until October
16 November 2016:
The charges against Akgul stem from the Özgür Gündem's coverage on the day she symbolically acted as co-editor of the newspaper to protest authorities' relentless judicial harassment of the newspaper's staff before police raided and shuttered its office on August 16.
Some 50 people face prosecution for participating in a protest that saw dozens of journalists, academics, and activists show solidarity with the newspaper by taking turns acting as co-editor of the newspaper for a day. Courts have indicted 36 participants, who now face trial, according to Evrensel.
İnan Kızılkaya, the newspaper's former responsible news editor, is a codefendant in each of those 36 cases.