Erkan Çapraz, the Editor-in-Chief of Yüksekova Haber news portal, and Ömer Oğuz, the Editorial Coordinator of the news portal, were put on trial on charge of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” on the grounds that they had reported on the panel speeches of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MPs Sait Dede and Leyle Güven from 2 years before on YouTube.
At the first hearing held on March 29, 2022, Çapraz and Oğuz attended the hearing from the courthouse in Hakkari’s Yüksekova district via the Audio and Visual Information System (SEGBİS). Following the identity check, Oğuz said that the had reported the related news not with the aim of propagandizing for a terrorist organization and rejected the offense charged. “I am a journalist, I made news in line with principles of journalism,” he said and requested his acquittal.
Jindar Uçar, the lawyer of Çapraz and Oğuz, requested that the speech made by Leyla Güven in Kurdish and translated into Turkish by law enforcement officers be translated again by an expert specialized in the field. Lawyer Uçar also indicated that in the trial where Leyla Güven was facing charges over the related speech before the Hakkari 3rd High Criminal Court, the verdict was overturned and the file was merged with that of the trial heard by the Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court. Accordingly, the lawyer requested that the result of this trial be awaited. Indicating that the related post should be considered within freedom of expression and press, Uçar requested his clients’ acquittal.
The court ruled that a writ should be written to the Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court, requesting the expert’s transcript minutes, indictments, hearing minutes and justified ruling, if any. It also ruled that consent should be requested to merge the file with that of the trial at the Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court due to legal and factual connection if it was deemed necessary following the examination to be conducted between the hearings. The next hearing will be held on May 10 (March 29).
At the hearing held on May 10, the court decided to seek consent, for the combining of the case file against journalists Çapraz and Oğuz with the case file at Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court, where Leyla Güven is being tried. The next hearing will be held on September 12 (May 10).
At the hearing held on September 12, 2022, Çapraz was not present at the courtroom. Oğuz attended the hearing via the Audio and Visual Information System (SEGBİS). The rejection of the request for combining the case files was read out at court. Afterwards, Jindar Uçar, the lawyer of Oğuz and Çapraz, requested the acquittal of the journalists by indicating that even though former MP Leyla Güven was convicted by the Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court, it did not constitute a crime on the part of the defendants in the current trial on the grounds of individual criminal responsibility.
Arguing that there was a de facto and de jure connection between the trial of Leyla Güven and that of the journalists, the prosecutor of the hearing demanded that the case files be merged. Indicating that the prosecutor’s opinion was the same as the one at the previous hearing, Uçar requested that the file be sent to the prosecutor’s office for the preparation of the opinion as to the accusations, indicating that there was no de facto or de jure connection between the two case files.
Citing the Articles 8 and 10 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the court ruled that the case files be merged by concluding that there was a de facto and de jure connection between the two (September 12).