An Istanbul court on December 6 released freelance journalist Tunca Öğreten and daily Birgün accountant Mahir Kanaat, pending the outcome of their trial, the independent news website Bianet reported.
Turkish authorities are trying Öğreten and Kanaat, along with four other journalists, on charges of terrorism for reporting on leaked emails from Turkey’s energy minister, CPJ has documented.
The next hearing is scheduled for April 3, 2018, according to Bianet.
Journalists in court
A Turkish court on November 30 ordered Eren Keskin, the former chief editor for the shuttered pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, and Reyhan Çapan, the paper’s former responsible editor, to pay a fine of 100,000 Turkish liras (US$25,858) for not publishing a correction, the pro-Kurdish Jin news agency reported.
As the responsible editor, Çapan can be held accountable under Turkish law for all of Özgür Gündem‘s content.
The newspaper’s lawyer Özcan Çetin argued that the case against his clients was not filed within the legal time limit and therefore the case should be dismissed. However, the court ruled in favor of Sancak and fined the journalists.
According to Jin, an Istanbul court ordered Özgür Gündem in 2015 to publish a correction to a story published earlier that year alleging that members of an organized crime group had carried out an assassination attempt on Murat Sancak, chairperson of the pro-government Star Media Group, in retribution for his gambling debts.
A court in the southeastern city of Mersin on December 5 found Berivan Altan, a former reporter for the shuttered pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA), guilty of “making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization,” and handed down a 15-month suspended prison sentence, according to the online newspaper Gazete Karınca. Turkish prosecutors used Altan’s work as a journalist and a music video she shared on social media as evidence against her in the trial, according to Gazete Karınca.
A court in the eastern Van region on December 5 revoked an earlier decision to release photojournalist Selman Keleş and his co-defendant Arif Aslan on pre-trial detention, and ordered that the pair be detained for the remainder of the trial, the daily Evrensel reported.
Local authorities detained Keleş in March 2017 after he photographed a Van regional municipality building, Dihaber reported at the time. Aslan, a municipality employee, was detained alongside Keleş.
The court had released Keleş and Aslan from pre-trial detention on November 21, the daily Evrensel reported at the time. As of December 7, authorities had not taken them back into custody.
Their trial is due to resume on February 22, 2018, according to Evrensel.