An analysis of the indictment against Istanbul’s Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu
PEN Norway’s Turkey Indictment Project continues with four new indictment reports researched and authored by four leading international human rights lawyers and academics in 2023.
These reports represent a new analysis of indictments that directly concern freedom of expression in Turkey and those that particularly target journalists, politicians, human rights defenders and lawyers.
The report published today analyses the indictment written in May 2021 against Istanbul’s Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu.
İmamoğlu was accused of insulting public officers after a statement he made to journalists in 2019. After the investigation, the reviewed indictment was issued and followed by a lawsuit against him.
İmamoğlu was sentenced to two years seven months and fifteen days in prison on charges of insulting members of the Supreme Electoral Council. The court also banned him from elected political office and other activities for the duration of the prison sentence he may have to serve if the conviction is upheld at appeal. The case is still pending before the Istanbul Regional Court of Appeal.
Lawyer Tony Fisher evaluated the indictment against İmamoğlu in the light of Turkey’s domestic law and international law and stated that “It is manifestly unsafe and unsatisfactory and resulted from a prosecution and trial which failed to comply with both domestic and international rules and obligations concerning the role of the prosecutor and the delivery of a fair trial to the defendant. The prosecutions were also clearly in breach of Turkey’s obligations under Article 10 of ECHR.”
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.