Mezopotamya News Agency correspondents İdris Sayılğan and Naci Kaya, who went to the Edirne border to report about the situation of refugees heading towards the border with Greece, were detained on February 29 on the grounds of “entering the military zone”.
As Sayılğan and Kaya had ongoing trials, they were connected to the courts from Edirne via SEGBIS on March 2. Sentenced to 8 years, 3 months by the Muş Heavy Penal Court, Sayılğan has stated to the 2nd Penal Chamber of the Erzurum Regional Court of Justice, which ruled for his release and sent his file to the Court of Cassation for approval. The court decided to arrest him, justifying the statement by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Edirne that Sayılğan, who had an “international travel ban”, had been caught while he was trying to cross the border.
The court board indicated that they gave a ruling depending on the evidence that they had and would evaluate the situation if the news that Sayılğan reported while he was in the region was submitted to the court during the period of objection. Sayılğan has been sent to the Edirne Type F Closed Prison.
While the court has ruled for the release of Naci Kaya, he is still held in custody upon the instruction of Edirne Public Prosecutor (2 March).
Sayılgan has been released upon the objection against his arrest on March 3 by Erzurum Regional Court 2nd Criminal Chamber (March 3).
On October 8, 2020, the first hearing of the lawsuit filed against Sayılğan and Kaya for “entering a military forbidden zone without permission” was held at the Edirne 8th Criminal Court of First Instance. Kaya and Sayılğan attended the hearing from the İstanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan via the Audio and Visual Information System (SEGBİS).
Sayılğan stated that they went to Edirne province after hearing that refugees had piled up at the border gate and they covered the developments there. Sayılğan also requested the return of the devices seized from him during his detention and his acquittal.
Speaking after Sayılğan, Kaya noted that while the indictment made an accusation of “coming to the border secretly”, there were hundreds of journalists where they were.
The court has ruled that the soldiers who detained Kaya and Sayılğan shall testify and the next hearing shall be held on January 27, 2021 (October 8).
After one witness was heard at the hearing on January 27, the court ruled that the file should be sent to the prosecutor’s office for the preparation of the opinion as to the accusations. The next hearing will be held on April 14 (January 27).
At the third hearing held on April 14, 2021, the court ruled that Kaya and Sayılğan should be acquitted (April 14).