An investigation was launched against Jin news reporter Hikmet Tunç due to his news article on May 13, 2019 by Van Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, upon the complaint of allegedly “making false news” by Erkan Savar, the trustee appointed to Muradiye Municipality. (6 February).
The indictment charged Tunç with “publicly insulting a public official due to his or her duty.” The first hearing of the lawsuit was going to be held at the Van Muradiye Civil Court of First Instance on October 21, 2020; however, the court informed the parties that the trial would be held in a “simple trial procedure,” which has been introduced to the legal system of Turkey with the 1st Judicial Reform Package. Accordingly, the court gave a decision without a hearing and demanded that Tunç and her attorney submit their defense and evidence in written form.
Tunç is facing 1 year, 2 months to 2 years, 4 months in prison. When the deficiencies are rectified, the case file will be examined without a hearing and a judgement will be handed down (October 21).
On August 13, 2021, the Muradiye Criminal Court of First Instance ruled that Tunç should be sentenced to 8 months, 22 days in prison on charge of “insult” and deferred the pronouncement of the verdict (August 13).
Sentenced to 8 months, 22 days in prison, JinNews reporter Hikmet Tunç appealed against the ruling. As part of the retrial following this appeal, Tunç gave her statement on April 8, 2022.
Tunç had been convicted due to the news report “They destroyed and left” published on May 13, 2019 and Tunç’s lawyer appealed against the ruling handed down in the simple procedure method without Tunç’s statement being taken. Deposing as part of the ensuing retrial at the Van 4th Criminal Court of First Instance, Tunç said that what she did was a journalistic activity. Indicating that there was no insult in the news, Tunç said, “The news that I reported about the trustee was cited from a report prepared by a political party. The irregularities of the trustee were listed in the report and I reported on it” (April 8).
At the hearing held on May 31, the court reiterated the prison sentence of 8 months and 22 days given to Tunç in simple trial procedure and suspended the announcement of the verdict (May 31).