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03 September

Freedom of Expression and the Press in Turkey - 205

Mehmet Baransu ordered to remain behind bars; 5 journalists arrested in Mardin released; journalist Levent Uysal attacked by armed assailants

The trial of former executives of the shuttered Taraf daily and reporter Mehmet Baransu for allegedly publishing a secret military document called the “Egemen Operation Plan” resumed on 27 August 2019 at the 13th High Criminal Court of Istanbul.
 
Baransu, the only jailed defendant in the case, who was brought to the courtroom from the Silivri Prison accompanied by gendarmerie, continued presenting his defense statement on the first day of the hearing, which was planned to continue for three days.
 
Taraf’s former executives Ahmet Altan, Yasemin Çongar and Yıldıray Oğur were not in attendance because they are exempt from personal appearance in court. Çongar and Altan were represented in court by lawyer Figen Albuga Çalıkuşu while Oğur was represented by lawyer Gülçin Avşar.
 
The hearing scheduled for 28 August did not take place because the court failed to send a summons to the Silivri Prison for Baransu to be brought to the courthouse.
 
Baransu continued making his defense statement on the third day of the hearing on 29 August. In its interim ruling at the end of that hearing, the court ordered the continuation of Mehmet Baransu’s detention on remand on the grounds of “the nature and type of the alleged crime” and because he “has still not completed his defense statement.” The court set 10-11-12 December 2019 as the dates for the next hearing.
 
A report about the hearing, monitored by P24, can be found here.
 
BirGün journalists to stand trial for news coverage
 
Four journalists from BirGün daily -- İbrahim Aydın, Barış İnce, Can Uğur and Bülent Yılmaz -- are charged with “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” in a new indictment. The accusation stems from the journalists’ reporting about posts from before the year 2016 by the Twitter account that used the pseudonym “Fuat Avni.”
 
The 16-page indictment was recently accepted by the 32nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul, which will be overseeing the case. The indictment claims that the newspaper’s reporting about “Fuat Avni” helped “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ/PDY)” in their attempts to manipulate public opinion.
 
DHA reporter Ümit Uzun briefly detained
 
Ümit Uzun, a reporter for Demirören News Agency (DHA), was taken into custody on 29 August 2019 in Istanbul as he was covering a news story for the agency.
 
Uzun was arrested and handcuffed behind his back as he was interviewing the owner of a store in the Gaziosmanpaşa district, where a car crashed into. The grounds for Uzun’s arrest was “disrupting the scene of the accident.” Uzun was released after interrogation. After being released, the journalist filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office about the officers who arrested him.
 
Journalist Levent Uysal attacked by assailants
 
Balıkesir-based journalist Levent Uysal, the owner of the local newspaper Yenigün, which recently ended its print run, was attacked by armed assailants on 28 August 2019.
 
Uysal was approached by two people on a motorbike, both wearing helmets, pretending to ask for directions, at around 01:00 a.m. near his home. The people on the motorbike fired at Uysal and shot him on the leg. The journalist was hospitalized following the attack. Uysal said he believed he was targeted because of his reporting.

Read our full weekly report here
https://expressioninterrupted.com/freedom-of-expression-and-the-press-in-turkey-205/

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