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Turkish journalists Dündar and Gül's trial adjourned, closed to public

The trial of Cumhuriyet daily's editor-in-chief Can Dündar and its Ankara representative, Erdem Gül, has been adjourned until April 1. The trial will be held in a closed court on the basis that state secrets will be discussed.

Can Dundar (C), editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet, leaves the Justice Palace in Istanbul, 25 March 2016
Can Dundar (C), editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet, leaves the Justice Palace in Istanbul, 25 March 2016

REUTERS/Osman Orsal

This statement was initially published on bianet.org on 25 March 2016.

Click here to read the article in Turkish / Haberin Türkçesi için buraya tıklayın.

The trial of Cumhuriyet daily's editor-in-chief Can Dündar and its Ankara representative, Erdem Gül, has been adjourned until April 1.

The trial was adjourned after Members of Parliament (MPs) did not leave the courtroom, despite the board's decision to hold the trial in a closed court. The court has ruled to take legal action against the MPs' non-compliance with the decision.

The first hearing of the trial was held on 25 March 2016 before the 14th İstanbul High Criminal Court in Çağlayan.

In the hearing – which was attended by many observers to support the journalists – the court board accepted the [request to add] President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) [as complainants in the case], despite objections from the defence lawyers. The board also decided to hold the trial in a closed court.

The audience reacted against the “closed trial” decision by chanting “what are you hiding?”

What happened?

Charges against Dündar and Gül were laid after they published an article with the headline “Here are the weapons Erdoğan claim to not exist” on May 29 2015. [They were charged with] “procuring information about state security”, “political and military espionage”, “declaring confidential information”, and “propagandizing a terrorist organization”.

Chief Public Prosecutor Hadi Salihoğlu declared the prosecution via a press release.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally filed a criminal complaint and requested Dündar to be sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment, life imprisonment and 42 years in prison for “targeting state interests by using images contrary to facts”.

In a live broadcast on public channel TRT, Erdoğan said, "I guess the person who made this special news will heavily pay for it".

Dündar and Gül were imprisoned on November 26, 2015.

When their objection to their arrest was rejected, they appealed to the Constitutional Court over “violation of freedom of press and speech and the right to security”.

The Constitutional Court ruled that Gül and Dündar's “freedom of press and expression, right to personal security have been violated [and that] their imprisonment is unlawful.”Gül and Dündar's file was referred to the Constitutional Court General Assembly.

CLICK - AYM REPORT: ARREST OF GÜL, DÜNDAR UNLAWFUL

The Constitutional Court General Assembly ruled that journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül – imprisoned as of November 26, 2015 over their MİT truck report – had their rights violated.

CLICK - CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULES JOURNALIST CAN DÜNDAR, ERDEM GÜL EXPOSED TO VIOLATION OF RIGHT

The 14th Heavy Penal Court ruled the release of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül following the “violation of rights” verdict by the Constitutional Court.

CLICK - COURT RULES RELEASE OF CAN DÜNDAR, ERDEM GÜL

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan commented on the Constitutional Court's ruling to release the journalists Gül and Dündar with: “I don't obey the court decision. I don't respect it either”.

CLICK - ERDOGAN ON RELEASE OF GÜL AND DÜNDAR: DON'T OBEY OR RESPECT THE COURT RULING

(EA/DG)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
What other IFEX members are saying
  • Turkey: Journalists’ trial closed to public

    “The court’s decision to hold hearings in secret limits public scrutiny of a critical case and the administration of justice; directly undermining the defendants’ right to a fair trial,” said Emma Sinclair-Webb, senior Turkey researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The decision also ignores the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights that any exclusion of the public from a trial must be exceptional and narrowly tailored to balance national security with the public interest in justice.”

  • Turkish judge rules trial for journalists facing life sentences to be closed to public

    Hundreds of supporters greeted the journalists as they arrived at the courtroom today, chanting, "You will not silence press freedom," according to wire reports. "We are here to defend journalism," Dundar told reporters. "We will defend journalism and the right of the public to be told the truth."



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