Last update: 26-Apr-2020
29 January 2020.
The ninth hearing in the trial of journalist Aziz Oruç, who was jailed pending trial after being returned to Turkey by Iran, was held on 29 January 2020 at the 9th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır. Oruç is charged with “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist group over social media.”
Delivering his defense statement via the video-conferencing system SEGBIS from prison, Oruç said his Twitter posts were just news and he requested to be acquitted.
Oruç’s lawyer Ferhat Kılınç also said that based on the amendment introduced with the judicial reform package, newsworthy content can no longer be considered “propaganda.” Noting that the elements of the alleged offense were not present, Kılınç requested his client’s acquittal.
Presenting their final opinion, the prosecutor asked the court to convict Oruç as charged. Granting Oruç and his lawyer time to prepare their defense statements in response to the prosecution’s final opinion, the court adjourned the trial until 2 March 2020.
Journalist Aziz Oruç jailed after spending one week in police custody
Journalist Aziz Oruç, who was arrested in the eastern province of Ağrı on 11 December 2019, was referred to the courthouse on 18 December after police questioning. Oruç was questioned by the police about the news reports he shared on social media.
After giving his statement to a prosecutor at the courthouse, Oruç was referred to court, which ruled to imprison the journalist on the charge of “membership of a terrorist group.” Oruç was sent to the Patnos Prison.
Oruç, who had been living in northern Iraq for the past three years because of the numerous court cases against him, attempted to escape to a European country via Iran and Armenia. He was caught on the Iranian-Armenian border, where he was tortured and sent back to Iran. There, he became subject to torture for two more days. On the night of 10 December, Oruç was forced to enter Turkey across the Iranian border with torn clothes and without shoes on his feet. He was arrested on 11 December on the Ağrı-Doğubayazıt highway. The Interior Ministry had called the journalist “a terrorist” in a press release issued last week about his arrest.
Journalist Aziz Oruç and HDP’s Doğubayazıt District Co-Chair Abdullah Ekelek were arrested on 11 December 2019 on the Ağrı-Doğubayazıt highway as part of an operation by the Ağrı Police Department. The Interior Ministry called Oruç “a terrorist” in the statement they issued about the arrests. Access to Oruç’s investigation file was restricted. He was also imposed a restriction on access to a lawyer.