The new Turkey Bilge Contepe Özgür Gündem newspaper journalist
Özgür Gündem trial adjourned until October
Latest hearing in trial of members of the shuttered Özgür Gündem newspaper’s editorial consultation board was held on 4 June at the Istanbul 23rd High Criminal Court.
The defendants, novelist Aslı Erdoğan, linguist Necmiye Alpay, journalists Filiz Koçali, Ragıp Zarakolu, Bilge Contepe, Özgür Gündem Editor-in-Chief Bilir Kaya, publisher Kemal Sancılı and lawyer Eren Keskin, are charged with “disrupting the integrity of the state and the unity of the nation,” “membership in a terrorist organization,” and “terrorism propaganda.”
The hearing, followed by P24 from the courtroom, was attended by Kızılkaya, Alpay and Keskin while Sancılı, who is in prison, addressed the session via video-conferencing system from İpsala Prison.
Keskin said at the hearing that she was on trial in 143 cases for showing solidarity with Özgür Gündem. “I voluntarily put my name as a co-editor-in-chief because Özgür Gündem is one of the most heavily oppressed newspapers in this country. Now I am being tried in 143 cases because of articles whose content I don’t know about. This is against freedom of expression and norms of international conventions and the European Convention on Human Rights,” she said.
Lawyer Özcan Kılıç requested the court to order the release of Sancılı and lift travel ban for Keskin, saying she was nominated for awards abroad. The court ruled to lift an arrest warrant against Zarakolu because his address abroad was known to the court but rejected requests for release of Sancılı and the lifting of the travel ban on Keskin.
The court also decided to give the case file to the prosecutor for preparation of the final opinion and adjourned the trial until 10 October 2018.*