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.
On 18 April 2017 the indictment was accepted and the first hearing was held on 24 July 2017.
At the first hearing Güray Öz, Musa Kart, Bülent Utku, Hakan Karasinir, Önder Çelik, Mustafa Kemal Güngör and Turhan Günay was released.
On 24 April 2018 verdict has been rendered in Cumhuriyet trial. 15 people have been sentenced in total to 81 years and 45 days in prison, three people have been acquitted. Files of Can Dündar and İlhan Tanır have been separated.
Bülent Utku was acquitted of “malpractice” and sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison on the charge of “aiding and propagandizing for 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.
Bülent Utku returned to Kocaeli Prison in İzmit for the execution of his sentence.
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. The Prosecutor’s Office has requested their acquittal. It was also indicated that the final verdicts on Kadri Gürsel, Bülent Utku, Musa Kart, Hakan Karasinir, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Önder Çelik and Güray Öz should be reversed and Prosecutor’s Office demanded their acquittal as well.
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.
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).