P24 monitored the hearing, which began an hour later than scheduled.
Erdoğan, who was not in attendance, was represented by his lawyer Veysel Ok.
Presiding judge Muhammed Zafer Terzi asked the prosecutor to give his final opinion. The prosecutor reiterated the final opinion he delivered in the previous sessions, asking the court to acquit Erdoğan of “membership in a terrorist organization” but convict him of the “propaganda” charge.
Afterwards, Erdoğan’s lawyer addressed the court for Erdoğan’s final defense statement in response to the final opinion.
Ok said: “For a journalist and photographer like Çağdaş Erdoğan to share posts on the Kurdish issue does not mean that he was making propaganda, nor does posting news from a newspaper like The New York Times mean that he was making propaganda. In his posts my client did not use words that were encouraging or praising crime. The posts my client posted without comment in the face of social occurrences do not constitute elements of crime. We do not think that (the posts) constitute propaganda as the prosecutor suggests. Even if they’re perceived as elements of crime my client must be considered to be exercising his right to report news according to article 26 of the Turkish Penal Code, which declares that a person who exercises his right shall not be subject to a penalty.”
The lawyer asked the court to acquit Erdoğan of all charges against him.
After the completion of Ok’s defense statement, the court panel declared a five minute recess to deliberate on the judgment and the audience was asked to leave. However, the prosecutor remained in the courtroom.
Announcing its verdict after the recess, the court sentenced Erdoğan to 1 year and 8 months in prison on the charge of “systematically disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” and acquitted him of the “membership in a terrorist group” charge as per the prosecutor’s final opinion.
Erdoğan was arrested on 2 September 2017 while taking photographs in a park in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district. He was accused of allegedly taking pictures of a social facility for the employees of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and was jailed pending trial 11 days later, on 13 September 2017, on the charge of “membership in a terrorist organization (PKK/KCK).” He was released by the trial court at the end of the first hearing of his trial, on 13 February 2018.
Photojournalist Çağdaş Erdoğan on 16 January appeared in a court in Bursa for the first hearing of his trial on the charge of “insulting the president” in a social media post.
Erdoğan and his lawyer were in attendance at the 13th Criminal Court of First Instance of Bursa for the hearing. Erdoğan submitted a written defense statement to the court, where he responded to the allegation and explained to the court that the said social media post was not about the president.
Issuing its verdict at the end of the hearing, the court ruled for Erdoğan’s acquittal.
The next hearing in Erdoğan's trial is scheduled for November 2, according to Evrensel.
Police in Istanbul detained freelance photographer Çağdaş Erdoğan on September 2, 2017 while he was photographing a guest house for the National Intelligence Agency (MİT), according to the English-language website Turkey Purge, which tracks arrests.
A court on September 13 ordered the journalist to be jailed pending trial. He is accused of being a member of the banned Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), according to records of his testimony, which CPJ has reviewed.
Erdoğan’s work has appeared in the Guardian, BBC, BuzzFeed, and for agencies including Getty and Agence France-Presse, among other outlets. He has covered PKK news and events, and urban warfare in southeastern Turkey, as well as local culture.
When he was detained, Erdoğan said he was testing a camera phone that the Chinese technology firm Huawei had given him to try out, and he thought the building was nice to be photographed. Erdoğan said a police officer approached him after he took the shot.
The photographer said he did not know the building belonged to the MİT, according to official documents of the testimony that he gave to police and prosecutors.
Authorities questioned Erdoğan about his social media posts on Instagram and Facebook. Additionally, police said his cell number was written on a piece of paper found on a suspected member of the PKK.
Erdoğan denied being a PKK member even though he has photographed people affiliated with the group in the course of his work. Erdoğan said he did not know why a PKK suspect had his phone number, according to police and prosecutor documents that CPJ viewed.
An Istanbul court on November 25, 2017 charged Erdoğan with “being a member of a [terrorist] organization” and “making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization,” according to the daily, Evrensel. According to the indictment, prosecutors claimed the photojournalist’s social media posts were PKK propaganda and alleged that Erdoğan’s actions in taking a photo of the building were proof of his membership to the organization.
As of late 2017, no court date had been set.
The British Journal of Photography published a letter Erdoğan wrote from prison in September 2017 in which he said he believed he was imprisoned for his work with the international media, and not for taking a photograph of a building.*
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