Turkiet: ”Rättegången handlar om att kriminalisera och tysta journalistik”

På bilden från vänster: Hege Newth, Ingeborg Senneset, Baturay Göksular, Marianne Østergaard, Anders Heger, Erol Önderoğlu, Elisabeth Löfgren, Natalie Arien, Berna Akkızal Özfilizler och Froukje Santing

Tre personer kallades till domstolen i Istanbul den 15 april – journalisten och representanten för Reportrar utan gränser, Erol Önderoğlu, ordförande i Turkiets Human Rights Foundation, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, och journalisten Ahmet Nesin. De står åtalade tillsammans med cirka 75 journalister för att de visat solidaritet med den kurdiska dagstidningen Özgür Gündem. Denna gång skulle domarna meddelas. Bland det stora antalet observatörer fanns representanter från Svenska PEN, Danska PEN, Norska PEN, PEN Flandern och PEN Nederländerna. Efter mindre än en timmes förhandling meddelade domaren att rättegången skjuts upp till den 17 juli 2019. 

Läs uttalandet från PEN-delegationen:

11th hearing of the case against Önderoğlu, Fincancı and Nesin

In a small court room in Istanbul, Erol Önderoğlu stood his ground against the charges made against him.

Today was the 11th hearing. On trial are Reporters Without Borders representative and IPI member Erol Önderoğlu, Turkey’s Human Rights Foundation Chair, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, and journalist Ahmet Nesin. The latter two could not make their statements in today`s hearing.

The three defendants are charged with «engaging in propaganda for a terrorist organisation», «incitement to commit a crime» and «praising criminal activities and those engaged in them». For what? A solidarity act – acting as guest editors in the «Editors-in-Chief on Watch» solidarity campaign for the shuttered pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem.

One single day as a guest editor have cost several journalists and editors days, months and years of uncertainty, waiting for the court to decide their fates. Freedom is on trial.

The judges  were all young and seemed inexperienced. This is a common and very serious problem in Turkey, hence thousands of judges and other academics are dismissed, put on trial or have fled the country.

«I doubt you are very well informed in human rights,» Önderoğlu told the judges.

Approximately 75 journalists, freedom of speech activists, international and national observers attended the hearing. Not all could fit in the few seats reserved for observers, and waited in the hallway as Önderoğlu finally got to deliver his statement.

This very strong defense speech will be published in English at svenskapen.se as soon as the translation is completed.

The hearing was over in under an hour. Representatives from PEN centers met with Erol Önderoğlu, who is tired, but determined.

«Many of my colleagues have spent months and months in prison. At least I`m outside. But I am not free. After waiting more than two and a half years, it was a relief for me to express myself to the court. It’s very important to me that the court actually take my message into consideration, even if any independent practice in the terms of judiciary is highly unlikely.»

The case is now postponed to 17 July. Postponements are also a way of tiring out both defendants and the public.

Read more and updated news about the case on Bianet.

Istanbul, April 15th 2019.