19 June 2019:
Journalist Meryem Yıldırım appeared before the 36th High Criminal Court of Istanbul on 19 June 2019 for the first hearing of her trial on the charge of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” over her social media posts.
Yıldırım and her lawyer Özgür Urfa were in attendance during the hearing. Addressing the court for her defense statement, Yıldırım said the social media posts for which she is accused were from over two years ago and that she did not remember posting them. Her lawyer asked the prosecution to take the recent Constitutional Court judgment in the case of teacher Ayşe Çelik into consideration in their final opinion.
The prosecutor then submitted their final opinion of the case, claiming that Yıldırım’s posts could not be deemed an exercising of the right to freedom of expression and asking the court to convict Yıldırım of “systematically disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization.” In her statement in response to the prosecutor’s final opinion, Yıldırım rejected the accusation and asked to be acquitted.
Yıldırım’s lawyer said the evidence in the case file was collected in an unlawful manner, without first obtaining a court order for her social media accounts to be investigated. Asserting that Yıldırım’s posts neither constituted crime nor called for violence the lawyer requested Yıldırım’s acquittal. Issuing its verdict at the end of the first hearing, the court convicted Yıldırım of the propaganda charge and handed down a sentence of 2 years, 4 months and 3 days. The court did not grant any reductions or defer the sentence.