Ankara 15th High Criminal Court filed a case against Hayri Demir, a reporter for Mezopotamya News Agency alongside with Sibel Hürtaş, an Ankara-based correspondent for Artı Tv, for “inciting the public to hatred and animosity” and “terrorist propaganda via media”. Both journalists were taken into custody in late January and released with judiciary control decision after four days.
The court continued the trial both for their news reports and social media posts about a Turkish military operation in Afrin, Syria.
On July 3, announcing its interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the court rejected the requests to file for the annulment of TCK Article 301 and to lift the judicial control measures imposed on the defendants. The court set 3 December 2019 as the date for the next hearing.
At the hearing held on December 3, journalists requested the judicial reform package to be applied to the case. The court dismissed this request and noted that the response of Ministry of Justice pertaining court’s request to charge journalists with Article 301 of the Penal Code, was not submitted to the case file. The hearing is adjourned until March 26, 2020.
The hearing scheduled to be held on April 28, was postponed to June 25 by Ankara 15 Heavy Criminal Court due to measures taken in relation to coronavirus pandemic.
At the hearing held on 25 June, the court dismissed Hürtaş and Demir’s requests to lift their international travel bans imposed for 2.5 years and separation of their files. The next hearing will be held on November 25 (25 June).
At the hearing held on November 25, 2020, the court rejected the request for lifting the international travel ban on the journalists. The next hearing will be held on March 4, 2021 (November 25).
At the hearing held on March 4, the court board ruled that the prosecution of Sibel Hürtaş and Hayri Demir should be halted in the lawsuit filed against them on charges of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” and “provoking the public to hatred and hostility”. The court board ruled that the trial should be halted and a permission should be awaited from the Justice Ministry so that the journalists would be put on trial as per the Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) (March 4).