Journalists Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Reyhan Hacıoğlu and Hicran Urun working for Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper to which a trustee was appointed, were arrested for the “membership in a terrorist organisation” by the 3rd Criminal Judgeship of Peace on April 10, 2018.
Editor for Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, Mehmet Ali Çelebi, who has been in prison since April 2018 and sentenced to 3 years and 9 months of imprisonment on July 2018, on the charge of “aiding a terrorist organization” was released from prison (9 July).
Özgür Gündem former Co-Editor-in-Chief Hüseyin Aykol was also sentenced to 3 years, 9 months in prison for “committing the crime successively.” The İstanbul Regional Court of Justice upheld the sentences with its decision dated November 29, 2018 (May 13).
In the retrial over the Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper, the prosecutor’s office presented its opinion as to the accusations at the hearing on April 7, 2022. The office requested that Mizgin Fendik be acquitted while Hicran Urun, Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Reyhan Hacıoğlu, İshak Yasul and Pınar Tarlak be penalized on charges of “membership of an organization”, “propagandizing for an organization” and “printing and disseminating the publications of the organization”.
The court gave time to the defendants’ lawyers to prepare statements as to the accusations. The next hearing will be held on June 14 (April 7).
At the hearing held on June 14, the lawyers of the accused demanded the acquittal of their clients. The presiding judge decided to evaluate the plea of defense submitted by lawyers Kılıç and Korkmaz. The next hearing will be held on September 15 (June 14).
At the hearing held on September 15, 2022, the lawyers of the defendants requested that the judicial control measures on their clients be lifted and their clients be acquitted. Rejecting the request for lifting the judicial control measures, the court ruled that an additional defense should be taken from Ürün, Çelebi, Hacıoğlu and Yasul on charge of “aiding the organization”. The next hearing will be held on December 21 (September 15).
At the hearing held on December 21, 2022, the court ruled that the international travel bans should remain in effect and the expert report on whether the newspaper supported “terrorist” activities or not should be awaited. The next hearing will be held on March 22, 2023 (December 21).