On 17 October 2016, İdris Sayılgan was taken into custody by a police raid. One week later he was arrested by a court decision. The prosecuiton’s office demanded up to 15 years of imprisonment. It is asserted that the allegations are based on phone calls with news sources, news he published, social media posts and his speeches at TV shows.
The journalist is represented by Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) Law Unit. MLSA and Media Legal Defence Initiative lodged an application with ECtHR.
On 25 January 2019, Muş 2nd Heavy Criminal Court sentenced him to 8 years 3 months of imprisonment for being a member of a terrorist organization and propagandizing for a terrorist organization. At the hearing, Sayılgan stated that he wanted to file a complaint for torture and ill-treatment since he was subjected to unlawful strip body search while he was being transferred from Trabzon Prison to Patnos and Muş Prisons.
After being held in prison for 1137 days on the grounds of his telephone conversations with news sources, Sayılğan was released on November 27, 2019 after the appeal examination conducted in the 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Erzurum Regional Court of Justice. An international travel ban was issued.
At the first hearing of the case held on January 8, Sayılğan did not accept the charges against him and requested his acquittal. Sayılğan’s lawyer requested additional time to present his defense in response to the prosecutor’s opinion as to the accusation. The court accepted the request and adjourned the trial until 25 March (8 January).
On 29 February 2020, he was taken into custody and subsequently arrested for allegedly violating the international travel ban while he was reporting on refugees awaiting at the border with Greece. MLSA lawyers who are representing the journalist objected to the decision of arrest on the grounds that he did not intend to cross the border and that he was in Edirne for professional reasons. The objection was accepted and on March 3, Sayılğan was released.
As part of measures against the spread of Covid-19 in Turkey, the trial to be held on March 25 was adjourned until 13 May (25 March).
At the hearing held on September 16, presenting its written opinion as to the accusations, the prosecutor’s office has demanded that journalist İdris Sayığan be penalized on charge of “repeatedly propagandizing for a terrorist organization.”
Requesting time to prepare his statement of defense as to the accusations, Sayılğan and his attorneys also requested a reexamination of evidence. The court has accepted the request for additional time and ruled that the next hearing shall be held on December 2, 2020 (16 September).
While the hearing was expected to be held on December 2, the temporary court board hearing the case as the court board were COVID-19 contacts has adjourned the trial until February 1, 2021 (December 2).
At the final hearing of the trial held on February 1, İdris Sayılğan was sentenced to 4 years in prison on charge of “successively propagandizing for a terrorist organization via the press” (February 1).