20 August 2019:
6 journalists arrested while covering demonstrations
Reporters Ahmet Kanbal, Mehmet Şah Oruç, Rojda Aydın, Nurcan Yalçın and Halime Parlak were arrested in Mardin while Yelda Özbek was arrested in Diyarbakır
Six journalists were arrested on 20 Auguıst 2019 in Mardin and Diyarbakır as they were covering public demonstrations in both cities in protest of the government’s recent removal of the mayors of Mardin, Diyarbakır and Van from office.
Mezopotamya news agency (MA) reporters Ahmet Kanbal and Mehmet Şah Oruç, Jinnews reporter Rojda Aydın and journalists Nurcan Yalçın and Halime Parlak were arrested in Mardin while reporter Yelda Özbek was arrested in Diyarbakır.
Police dispersed the crowds who gathered in front of Diyarbakır and Mardin City Halls. The reporters were arrested as they were taking pictures of the protesting crowds.
15 July 2019:
Journalist Ahmet Kanbal released from detention
Ahmet Kanbal, a reporter for the Mezopotamya news agency, was taken into custody on 13 July 2019 in the southeastern province of Mardin, where he lives.
Kanbal was charged with “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist group” over his social media posts. Kanbal was referred to the courthouse on 15 July. The court he was referred to by the prosecutor released Kanbal under judicial control measures and an international travel ban.
3 April 2019:
MA reporter Ahmet Kanbal briefly detained
Mezopotamya news agency reporter Ahmet Kanbal was taken into custody on 3 April in the Nusaybin district of the Mardin province where he was covering a news story. Kanbal was arrested because he had failed to show up to give his statement as part of a court case. Kanbal was released later in the day by the Nusaybin 1st Criminal Court of First Instance, to which he gave his statement.
20 November 2018:
Ahmet Kanbal appears in first hearing of “propaganda” case
Mezopotamya news agency (MA) reporter Ahmet Kanbal on 20 November appeared before an Izmir court for the first hearing of his trial on “propaganda” charge for his social media posts.
P24 monitored the hearing at the 2nd High Criminal Court of Izmir. Kanbal addressed the court from the Mardin Courthouse via the courtroom video-conferencing system SEGBİS and gave his defense statement.
Kanbal explained in his defense statement that the Tweets for which he is accused were aimed at journalism and not propaganda. He continued: “Currently, social media is an effective journalism tool. I use it for our news stories to reach a bigger audience in a country where newspapers are shut down [by the government].” The journalist requested his acquittal.
Following the defense statements by Kanbal and his lawyers, the prosecution went on to submit their final opinion of the case, claiming that Kanbal “attempted, through the press, to demean the Turkish military’s operations” and requesting that the journalist be convicted of “successively disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization.”
Announcing its interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the court adjourned the trial until 26 February 2019 for Kanbal to prepare his final defense statement in response to the prosecutor’s final opinion.