Journalists, lawyers and other members of Cumhuriyet Newspaper are standing trial with terror related charges.
Murat Sabuncu, Kadri Gürsel, Musa Kart, Güray Öz, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Turhan Günay, Bülent Utku, Önder Çelik and Hakan Karasinir was detained on 31 October 2016, for allegedly being associated with PKK/KCK and FETO/PDY terrorist organizations. On 4 November 2016, they were arrested and sent to prison.
Ahmet Şık was detained due to a criminal investigation opened for some of his social media posts and news on 29 December. He was arrested on 30 December.
On 18 April 2017 the indictment of “Case of Cumhuriyet Newspaper” was accepted and the first hearing was held on 24 July 2017.
At the fourth hearing on 31 October 2017, Şık was released.
On 24 April 2018, verdict was rendered in Cumhuriyet trial. 15 people were sentenced in total to 81 years and 45 days in prison while three people were acquitted.
Ahmet Şık was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months of imprisonment on the charge of “aiding a terrorist organization”.
On 19 February, the Court of Appeal have upheld the decision of the first instance court. Thus, six journalists and lawyers, who have been sentenced to less than five years in prison in the Cumhuriyet newspaper case and whose prison sentences have been upheld by the court of appeal, are detained again for the execution of their sentences.
Akın Atalay, Orhan Erinç, Murat Sabuncu, Aydın Engin, Hikmet Çetinkaya and Ahmet Şık, whose sentences are more than five years, are entitled to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeals.
Meanwhile, on May 2nd the Constitutional Court found no violation in relation to allegations on unlawful detention.
On July 18, upon the appeal of journalists, the Supreme Court of Appeals Prosecutor’s Office demanded the prison sentences of Cumhuriyet Executive Board Chair Akın Atalay, former Executive Board Chair Orhan Erinç, Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, Executive Board member and columnist Hikmet Çetinkaya and columnist Aydın Engin be reversed.
It has been stated that the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) İstanbul MP Ahmet Şık’s prison sentence of 7 years, 6 months for “aiding the organization” be reversed and Şık be tried on charges of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” and “openly degrading the institutions and organs of the state”.
16th Penal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals decided on the reversal of the inferior court’s decision of conviction and ruled to halt the execution of the sentence as well as the release of journalist. The case is sent back to 27th High Criminal Court (18 July).
After the Court of Cassation overturned the verdicts of conviction in Cumhuriyet case, the retrial of former Cumhuriyet employees started at the İstanbul 27th Heavy Penal Court on November 21. The court has ruled that Kadri Gürsel shall be acquitted while it has upheld the conviction of all other defendants.
With the İstanbul 27th Heavy Penal Court defying the Court of Cassation verdict of reversal, the case will now be heard by the General Assembly for Criminal Matters of Court of Cassation (21 November).
On November 24, 2020, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) concluded that Ahmet Şık’s right to freedom of expression and press and personal liberty and security were violated following the Cumhuriyet trial. The ECtHR has ruled that Turkey shall pay 16,000 Euro in damages (November 24).