Adil Demirci’s trial adjourned until February
Etkin news agency (ETHA) reporter Adil Demirci’s trial on the charges of “membership in a terrorist group” and “terrorism propaganda” also resumed on 15 October 2019 at the 25th High Criminal Court of Istanbul. This was the sixth hearing in the case, where Demirci is on trial alongside 22 other defendants.
P24 monitored the hearing, which began half an hour later than scheduled. Six unjailed defendants were in attendance, as well as defense lawyers.
Lawyers asked the court to lift the judicial control measures imposed on their clients. In its interim ruling, the court reduced the judicial control measures imposed on the defendants but kept their international travel ban in place and adjourned the trial until 13 February 2020.
14 February 2019:
Turkish-German journalist says attending funerals cited as evidence against him
In April the 33-year-old Demirci, who lives in the German city of Cologne, went on vacation to Turkey. Before he could return he was arrested on terrorism charges. His trial started at the İstanbul 25th High Criminal Court in November.
Demirci is accused of membership in the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) and of disseminating terrorist propaganda.
Responding to Deutsche Welle’s questions from Silivri Prison where he is jailed, Demirci said: “There is not even a single piece of evidence against me in my dossier to legitimize my trial while in detention. It is obvious that I am imprisoned based on arbitrary and biased judgments. … The only evidence against me is the funerals I attended… The funerals I attended were in 2014 or 2015, and attending a funeral does not constitute a crime from a legal point of view.”
The journalist said if he had believed he had committed a crime, he would not come to Turkey on vacation.
Demirci was employed in Cologne as a social worker and as a reporter for the Etkin Haber Ajansı (ETHA) news agency.
Turkey sees the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and YPG as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984.
When asked whether he believes he is being given a fair trial in Turkey, Demirci said even answering this question entails some risk for him, implying that he could face other charges for lacking confidence in the Turkish judicial system.
“I am not a jurist, but I just want to remind you of this: Is Turkey complying with ECtHR [European Court of Human Rights] rulings? The ECtHR’s Demirtaş’s ruling has not been implemented. Now it is necessary to ask whether there could be a fair trial in Turkey. My name is Adil [which means fair in Turkish], but it is hard for me to say I am getting a fair trial. If a fair decision had been made, I would not be in jail today,” added the journalist.
Demirci was referring to a ruling by the ECtHR for jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş as the European court said on Nov. 20 that Demirtaş’s pre-trial detention was a political act and ordered his release. Turkish courts refused to implement the European court’s ruling, and a regional appeals court in Turkey on Dec. 4 upheld a four year, eight month prison sentence for Demirtaş for disseminating terrorist propaganda.
Many Kurdish politicians in Turkey face terrorism charges or are already in jail for attending the funerals of PKK militants. Source
Nineteen Turkish journalists who fear they have been forgotten in prison have penned a letter to call attention to their plight and demand justice.
The 19 journalists held in Silivri prison are among the hundreds held in Turkey, which this year remained the world’s most prolific jailer of journalists.
The journalists were charged with membership of the outlawed Gülen religious movement, which the Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) blames for carrying out the July 2016 coup attempt.
“(We) have been held in Silivri Prison for more than two years. We, who have no job other than journalism, want to say we wish to be remembered and we expect justice,” the journalists said in their letter.
The nineteen, most of whom are reporters with little public exposure, are still being held pending appeal after two years in prison. They were among a group of 26 journalists arrested in 2016 for alleged links to Gülen who were released by a court in March last year before being detained again on the same night.
However, while five journalists have been released, pending appeal or due to health concerns, the 19 have had to remain behind bars.
“There are no concrete charges in our files. That we were released after our first hearing in court demonstrated this fact. However, we have not been released although we received lesser sentences during our last hearing,” they said.
"As ‘forgotten journalists’ who are mostly reporters and who are not well known by the public, we have been held in Silivri Prison for more than two years. We, who have no job other than journalism, want to say that we want to be remembered and that we expect justice," said the journalists.
Turkey’s press was declared “not free” by the Freedom House organisation in its 2017 report, after harsh crackdowns under a post-coup attempt state of emergency that saw hundreds of journalists arrested and a significant number of press outlets shut down. Reporters Without Borders ranked Turkey 157th out of 180 countries in its 2018 World Press Freedom Index.
The 19 signatories of the letter are: Abdullah Kılıç, Ahmet Memiş, Ali Akkuş, Bayram Kaya, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cuma Ulus, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Habip Güler, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Hüseyin Aydın, M. Sait Kuloğlu, M. Erkan Acar, Mutlu Çölgeçen, Oğuz Usluer, Seyit Kılıç, Ufuk Şanlı, Ünal Tanık, Yakup Çetin and Yetkin Yıldız.