25 December 2019:
The seventh hearing in the trial of Evrensel columnist Yusuf Karataş on the charge of “establishing and leading a terrorist group” took place on 25 December 2019 at the 9th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır.
Karataş faces up to 22.5 years in prison in the trial, one of many similar criminal cases where the accusations stem from audio recordings of speeches delivered by participants during Democratic Society Congress (DTK) meetings. Karataş was arrested and jailed pending trial in July 2017 as part of an investigation into DTK. He was released pending trial in September 2017.
P24 monitored the latest hearing, where Karataş and his lawyer Diren Elif Vurgun were in attendance. Karataş asked the court to lift his international travel ban, which has been in place for more than two years. His lawyer also requested the court to lift her client’s travel ban and to grant Karataş exemption from attending hearings. Issuing an interim ruling, the court ruled to keep Karataş’s travel ban in place but granted him exemption from attending courtroom hearings and adjourned the trial until 11 March 2020.
12 September 2019:
The journalists are charged with "establishing and leading an armed terrorist organization" on the ground of discussion panels, conferences and interviews that they attended as part of their journalistic activities. Both Doğan and Karataş face up to 22 years, 6 months in prison. After five-minute hearings yesterday, the board of the Diyarbakır 9th Heavy Penal Court has adjourned the next hearings to December 25.
Yusuf Karataş, a columnist for the Evrensel newspaper, also had his sixth hearing yesterday. Announcing his opinion as to the accusations, the prosecutor demanded that the current judicial control measures on Karataş continue and the answer of the Diyarabakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office regarding a report on voice records be awaited.
The court has ruled that the judicial control measures on Yusuf Karataş shall continue to be in effect. It has also ruled that a writ shall be written to the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office to ask the date when the journalist was added as a defendant to the case file.
In his statement at court, the journalist requested the removal of judicial control measures in following words: "I am a journalist. The statements that I made about the party have been cited as speeches on the terrorist organization. I also request that the international travel ban imposed on me due to the file against me be removed, because I am a journalist. It is preventing my professional activities and, at this stage, this injunction has turned into penalization for me."