The indictment against 18 Kurdish journalists in Turkey does not meet legal standards
“This indictment should never have been issued,” says Şerife Ceren Uysal, PEN Norway’s Turkey Legal Adviser.
On 8 June 2022 police of the anti-terror directorate arrested eighteen Kurdish press workers and journalists working for Kurdish media and television outlets. Despite no tangible case against them, 15 of those arrested were held in pre-trial detention until 11 July, 2023 when they were released on bail at the first hearing of the case against them at Diyarbakır’s 4th High Criminal Court.
The charge of membership in a terror organisation and all other elements of the over 700-page indictment against them is examined by lawyer and PEN Norway’s Turkey Legal Adviser Şerife Ceren Uysal as part of PEN Norway’s Turkey Indictment Project 2023. Her findings indicate that the greater part of the indictment was copied and pasted directly from the police report without amendments.
Şerife Ceren Uysal stated that:
“A fundamental observation that has been made in many previous reports is also valid with respect to this indictment: This indictment should never have been issued. The indictment clearly violates the principle of legality, the presumption of innocence, freedom of the press, freedom of expression, the principle of respect for private life and even the right to defence and the right to a fair trial because of its unnecessarily long, scattered narrative and its accusations that appear to have been copied and pasted from a police report.”
15 of the 18 journalists were in pre-trial detention between June 2022 and July 2023. PEN Norway’s Turkey Advisor Caroline Stockford watched the first hearing of the trial of the journalists. Our report on the hearing and Stockford’s interview on the case can be accessed here:
- Trial report: PEN Norway observes Kurdish media case – PEN Norway (norskpen.no)
- Caroline Stockford’s interview in Turkish: PEN Norveç Türkiye Danışmanı: Boş bir iddianame ile karşılaştık – JINNEWS (jinnews41.xyz)
- Caroline Stockford’s interview in Kurdish: Caroline Stockford: Ma bi îdîanameyêk veng reyde ameyî rî bi rî – JINNEWS ZAZAKÎ (jinnews41.xyz)
About PEN Norway’s Turkey Indictment Project
With an international team of lawyers and judges, PEN Norway has since 2021 studied indictments in the cases of journalists and civil society figures who had been tried in Turkey.
PEN Norway’s Turkey Indictment Project has continued with four new indictment reports researched and authored by four leading international human rights lawyers and academics in 2023.
Due to the ongoing crisis in the judiciary and deteriorated state of the rule of law in Turkey we will continue to analyse indictments that directly concern freedom of expression in 2024.
Read more about PEN Norway’s Turkey Indictment Project here.