12/09/2017 - 12:00

ÖZGÜR GÜNDEM TRIALS: Prosecution Demands Conviction for Eryılmaz in Özgür Gündem Editors-On-Watch Case

In the hearing held before İstanbul 22nd Heavy Criminal Court in Çağlayan Courthouse, Prosecutor Uygur Kaan Arısoy demanded that journalist Tuğrul Eryılmaz, one of the Editors-in-Chief on Watch from the now-closed Özgür Gündem daily standing trial, be convicted for publishing and spreading crimes of terrorist organizations.

Attorneys Özcan Kılıç and Hazal Pekşen Demirhan representing Eryılmaz demanded an extension of time.

The court, granting the attorneys' request, ruled that the trial be adjourned to October 20, 2 p.m.

Eryılmaz had participated in the Editor-in-Chief on Watch campaign and was the editor-in-chief on watch on June 1, 2016.

He stands trial due to 7 reports and articles published in Özgür Gündem's June 1 issue.

Anti-Terror Law

Announcement and publication

Article 6 – Those who announce or publish that a crime will be committed by terrorist organisations against persons, in a way that makes possible that these persons can be identified, whether or not by specifying their names and identities, or those who disclose or publish the identities of state officials that were assigned in fight against terrorism, or those who mark persons as targets in the same manner shall be punished with imprisonment from one to three years.

Those who print or publish declarations or announcements of terrorist organisations shall be punished with imprisonment from one to three years.

Those who, in violation of article 14 of this Law, disclose or publish the identities of informants shall be punished with imprisonment from one to three years.

If any of the offences indicated in the paragraphs above are committed by means of mass media, editors-in-chief (…)1 who have not participated in the perpetration of the crime shall be punished with a judicial fine from one thousand to fifteen thousand days’ rates. However, the upper limit of this sentence for editors-in-chief is five thousand days’ rates. Publication of periodicals involving public incitement of crimes within the framework of activities of a terrorist organisation, praise of committed crimes or of criminals or the propaganda of a terrorist organisation may be suspended from fifteen days to one month, by the decision of the judge, or, if harm is to be expected due to a delay, by the order of the prosecutor. The prosecutor shall inform the judge of his or her decision within max. 24 hours. In this case, the decision of suspension shall be rendered null and void if it is not approved by the judge within 48 hours.

Terrorist organisations

Article 7 – Those who establish, lead, or are a member of a terrorist organisation in order to commit crimes in furtherance of aims specified under article 1 through use of force and violence, by means of coercion, intimidation, suppression or threat, shall be punished according to the provisions of article 314 of the Turkish Penal Code. Persons who organise the activities of the organisation shall be punished as leaders of the organisation.

Any person making propaganda for a terrorist organisation shall be punished with imprisonment from one to five years. If this crime is committed through means of mass media, the penalty shall be aggravated by one half. In addition, editors-in-chief (…)2 who have not participated in the perpetration of the crime shall be punished with a judicial fine from one thousand to fifteen thousand days’ rates. However, the upper limit of this sentence for editors-in-chief is five thousand days’ rates. The following actions and behaviours shall also be punished according to the provisions of this paragraph:

a) Covering the face in part or in whole, with the intention of concealing identities, during public meetings and demonstrations that have been turned into a propaganda for a terrorist organisation

b) As to imply being a member or follower of a terrorist organisation, carrying insignia and signs belonging to the organization, shouting slogans or making announcements using audio equipment or wearing a uniform of the terrorist organization imprinted with its insignia

If the crimes indicated under paragraph 2 were committed within the buildings, locales, offices or their annexes belonging to associations, foundations, political parties, trade unions or professional organisations or their subsidiaries, within educational institutions, students’ dormitories or their annexes, the penalty under this paragraph shall be doubled.

About Tuğrul Eryılmaz

He was the editor-in-chief of Radikal İki since it was founded in 1996. He graduated from Ankara University Faculty of Political Science in 1969 and continued his education in England for some time. After doing his master's degree in political science, he started working as a journalist in Turkey's national public broadcaster TRT's News Center. He lectured on communication in Ankara University Press and Broadcasting School and left his position at the university in 1981.

In İstanbul, he worked in Nokta, Yeni Gündem, Tempo and Sokak magazines as well as Cumhuriyet and Yeni Asır newspapers.
He gave lectures on journalism in the communication faculties of Ankara, Bahçeşehir, Bilgi, İzmir Economy and Kadir Has Universities.

He was a host on various TV programmes about cinema and he has been a consultant for movie and TV series. He is a founding member of the IPS Communication Foundation and Executive Board. He is a Rolling Stones and Marianne Faithfull fan. (TP/EKN/DG)

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