22 persons including 20 journalists have been detained in the police raid on Özgür Gündem after it was closed by the order on August 16, 2016. All detainees were released and they have been standing trial for “prevention of public duty” by resisting the police and “insult” at the 5th Criminal Court of First Instance in İstanbul.
Fırat Yeşilçınar, Doğan Güzel, Sinan Balık, Amine Demirkıran, Davut Uçar, Elif Aydoğmuş, Reyhan Hacıoğlu, Zeki Erden, Özgür Paksoy, Mesut Kaynar, Hüseyin Gündüz, Kemal Bozkurt, Burcu Özkaya, Sevdiye Ergürbüz, Günay Aksoy, Ersin Çaksu, Önder Elaldı, Ender Öndeş, Gülfem Karataş, Gökhan Çetin, Bayram Balcı and Yılmaz Bozkurt face up to 8 years and 4 months of imprisonment.
In the last hearing held on November 5, 2019, the court board ruled that the execution of the arrest warrant issued for Amine Demirkıran, Günay Aksoy, Bayram Balcı and Ersin Çaksu shall be awaited.
The next hearing will be held on February 25, 2020.
At the 7th hearing held on October 22, 2020, attorneys Özcan Kılıç and Sercan Korkmaz requested an inquiry into which digital materials of their clients had been seized as part of the lawsuit filed at the 23rd High Criminal Court. The attorneys also requested that the seized materials be returned to them and the deficiencies in the case file be rectified.
The court has concluded that as the seized digital materials have not been found, they cannot be returned to their owners. The next hearing will be held on February 16, 2021 (October 22).
At the hearing held on February 16, 2021, the court board ruled that the execution of the detention warrants issued against 4 defendants should be awaited. The next hearing will be held on April 22 (February 16).
At the hearing held on April 22, 2021, the court board ruled that the files of Amine Demirkan, Bayram Balcı, Ersin Çaksu and Günay Aksoy, against whom a warrant was issued, should be separated and the file of the case should be sent to the prosecutor’s office for the opinion as to the accusations. The next hearing will be held on July 1 (April 22).
At the hearing held on July 1, 2021, the opinion as to the accusations was pronounced. The prosecutor demanded penalization on charges of “resisting to prevent fulfillment of duty” (Turkish Penal Code / TCK Article 265) and “insult” (TCK Article 125). The hearing was adjourned for the statements as to the accusations. The next hearing will be held on November 23 (July 1).
At the hearing held on November 23, 2021, the prosecutor’s office reiterated the opinion as to the accusations presented at the previous hearing and demanded that the journalists be penalized for resisting and insulting the police to prevent the detention. Some defendants’ lawyers reportedly offered excuses. The presiding judge accepted the excuses. The next hearing will be held on December 21, 2021 (November 23).
At the hearing held on December 21, 2021, except for the four people whose case files were separated, 18 people were acquitted of “resisting to prevent the fulfilment of duty” and “insult” in the trial of 22 journalists who were battered and detained during the raid on Özgür Gündem in 2016 (December 21).