6 November 2019:
The second hearing in the trial of journalist Ferhat Parlak, the owner of the shuttered newspaper Silvan Mücadele, for alleged “terrorist organization membership” took place on 6 November 2019 at the 11th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır.
Parlak and his lawyer were in attendance at the courtroom where it was announced that the anticipated secret witness testimonies had not yet been received. While one of the three witnesses present claimed to not even know Parlak, the other two said that they knew Parlak only as a journalist and publisher in Silvan.
Reiterating its interim decision to hear the secret witnesses, the court ruled to continue the judicial control measures imposed on Parlak taking into consideration that the witness and secret witness testimonies were still expected and the minimum and maximum of the sought punishment. The trial was adjourned until 17 February 2020.
9 July 2019:
Arrested due to the statement of an anonymous witness, journalist Ferhat Parlak has been released on probation after the anonymous witness changed his previous statement
Saying his final words in his defense, Parlak said, "I have two little daughters, I miss having breakfast with them very much."
Ferhat Parlak was taken into custody in a house raid conducted by the police in Silvan in Turkey's southeastern province of Diyarbakır on April 11, 2018. Detained for three days, Parlak was referred to the Prosecutor's Office, which referred him to the penal judgeship of peace to be arrested.
The court ruled for the arrest of Parlak on charge of "membership of an illegal organization" based on the statement of an anonymous witness.
Ferhat Parlak was sent to the Diyarbakır Type D Closed Prison. He said that he was arrested due to his journalistic activities and added, "Doing journalism in the region is being turned into a crime. I am not accepting this crime. My morale is high despite everything."
450 days have passed since Parlak uttered these words. Ferhat Parlak stood before the judge at the Diyarbakır 11th Heavy Penal Court on July 8.
Taking his seat between the gendarmerie officers, Parlak rejected the claims by presenting documents. At that moment, he saw his family entering the court hall. They were late because they were coming from Silvan. Interrupting his defense, he waived his hand towards his mother Aysun, wife Sima and two little daughters Ranya and Zerya. Completing his defense, he said, "I miss having breakfast with my two little daughters very much."
Witness Cesur changed his previous statement
An anonymous witness previously stated that he would like to benefit from the repentance law and said that Parlak was in touch with the senior executives of the organization. In the first hearing yesterday, Bilal Cesur was, this time, heard as an open witness via Audio and Visual Information System (SEGBİS). In contrast with his previous statement, Cesur indicated that he did not know Parlak, saw him only while taking photographs and did not know whether he had any connections with the organization or not.
Announcing its verdict after the two-minute break, the court board ruled that Ferhat Parlak shall be released on probation and adjourned the hearing to November 6, 2019. The family of Parlak, who was outside the court hall, received the news of his release in tears and by hugging each other.
His wife Sima Parlak expressed her happiness at the verdict. Having graduated from the Dicle University's Medical Documentation Department and being unemployed because she waits for appointment, Sima Parlak said, "Ferhat has been arrested for 15 months with slanders and false pretences. I tried to stand on my feet alone. I had to move in with my family."
His mother Aysun Parlak said, "I wish the same to the others in prison. May the God save everyone from that narrow place."
'The cruel only inflict cruelty'
Among the ones who watched the hearing was also 83-year-old İsmet Hillez, who used to came to Diyarbakır Newroz and attend the folk dances with his walking stick in his hand until four years ago.
Hillez said that he could not come to Newroz because of his old age, but Ferhat Parlak had a special place beside him.
"Ferhat is like gold. Whenever I got bored, I would go to the office of his newspaper and sit there", Hillaz stated further.
Denouncing the 15-month arrest of Parlak, Hillez said, "The cruel only inflict cruelty. They do not look who is right and who is wrong." (EKN/SD)
Jailed journalist Ferhat Parlak, the Diyarbakır-based publisher and reporter of the shuttered local newspaper Silvan Mücadele, appeared before a court in Diyarbakır on 8 July for the first hearing of his trial on the charge of “membership in a terrorist group.”
The Diyarbakır 11th Criminal Court of First Instance, which recently accepted the indictment against Parlak, ruled at the end of Monday’s hearing to release the journalist pending the conclusion of his trial. The court imposed on Parlak an international travel ban. Parlak, who was jailed in April 2018, has been in detention on remand for 15 months.
The indictment accuses Parlak based on testimony by a witness who goes by the initials B.C. and five other secret witnesses with the aliases “Takvim,” “Akın,” “Çaylak,” “Akya” and “Veda.” Evidence from previous criminal cases against Parlak that have already been finalized are held as evidence against the journalist in the new indictment.
News reports and footage included in a case file where Parlak was previously convicted of “propaganda” are also included in the new case file. The prosecution seeks up to 15 years in prison for Parlak.
The second hearing of Parlak’s trial will be held on 6 November 2019.