The new Turkey
Kemal Özer.
Reporter for Evrensel daily

19-Apr-2019 9:44

27 March 2019:

Kemal Özer handed down 6-year prison sentence 

Kemal Özer, a former Tunceli correspondent for the daily Evrensel, appeared in the final hearing of his trial on the charge of “membership in a terrorist group” on 27 March.
The 1st High Criminal Court of Tunceli convicted Özer of the charge and sentenced him to 6 years and 3 months in prison. Özer’s lawyers said they will appeal the verdict before an appellate court.

24 October 2018:

Kemal Özer remains behind bars in third hearing

Kemal Özer, a reporter for Evrensel daily who has been jailed pending trial since September 2017, appeared before a court in Tunceli on 24 October for the third hearing of his trial.

Özer, who is charged with “membership in a terrorist organization,” addressed the 1st High Criminal Court of Tunceli for his defense statement during the hearing. Özer told the court that he had traveled to the Pamuk village near the Hozat district for news coverage and then while there he was threatened for his life by a group of persons who were wielding guns. Özer requested to be released pending trial. 

In its interim ruling, the court ordered the continuation of Özer’s detention and adjourned the trial until 28 December.

11 August 2018:

Evrensel reporter Kemal Özer remains behind bars 
Kemal Özer, a reporter for Evrensel daily, on 10 August appeared before the 1st High Criminal Court on Tunceli for the second hearing of his trial.

Jailed pending trial since September 2017, Özer is charged with “membership in a terrorist organization.”
Addressing the court during the hearing, lawyers representing Özer requested for the journalist’s release pending the conclusion of the trial.
In its interim decision, the court ruled for the continuation of Özer’s detention on grounds of “strong suspicion of involvement in crime” and that “the time he has spent in detention would not be adequate at this stage for judicial control measures.” The court set 24 October as the date for the next hearing.

18 September 2017:

Journalists accused of being members of terrorist organization

A Turkish court on September 15 formally arrested and jailed reporter Kemal Özer on accusations of being a member of a terrorist organization, according to his employer, the daily Evrensel. Özer had been in custody since September 2, CPJ documented.

7 September 2017:

Turkish police detain regional reporter on suspicion of terrorism 

Turkish police on September 2 detained Kemal Özer, a regional reporter for the leftist daily Evrensel, and said they plan to hold the journalist until September 9 on suspicion that he is a member of a terrorist organization, the head of the local bar association, Barış Yıldırım, told Evrensel on Monday.

Özer is currently in custody at the Tunceli Police Directorate, according to the Evrensel report.

Police detained Özer, who works in the central eastern Tunceli region, at a checkpoint between the Ovacık district and the main city of Tunceli, also known by its Kurdish name of Dersim, Evrensel reported. Earlier in the day, authorities had searched Özer's home, and failed to find the journalist, according to a news report.

Özer, a veteran correspondent for Evrensel, has been harassed previously for his work. In January, CPJ documented how the reporter received threatening anonymous phone calls over his reporting on the illegal hunting of mountain goats in Tunceli province.

3 January 2017:

Journalist threatened over illegal hunt report

Kemal Özer, a reporter for the daily Evrensel, said he was threatened after reporting on the illegal hunting of mountain goats in Turkey's Tunceli province, his employer reported. Özer said he was threatened over the phone after reporting on Twitter and in Evrensel about an allegedly illegal hunt spotted by witnesses in Pülümür.

"My number was called by some people the same night. The address of my house was asked. They said they will kill me. They made heavy insults. They said, 'We won't let this slide," Özer was quoted as saying. The journalist said he received a further call from what he believed was the same group of people, in which he said they dared him to meet them. Özer said he will file a criminal complaint about the threats and will continue to report on the need to preserve local wildlife.