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Two releases in Özgür Gündem trial

In the trial in which writers and managers of closed Özgür Gündem newspaper are being prosecuted, the paper’s detained proprietor Kemal Sancılı and editor İnan Kızılkaya were released.
Yayınlanma tarihi: 31 Ekim 2017 Salı, 17:15

The release of two journalists was ordered at the fifth hearing of the Özgür Gündem trial heard at Istanbul Serious Crime Court No 23. İnan Kızılkaya, having spent 441 days in detention, and Kemal Sancılı were released.
 
The fifth hearing in the trial into Özgür Gündem newspaper, which was closed under a state of emergency decree with the force of law, that was launched by Istanbul Judgeship of the Peace No 8 on 16 August 2016 was heard at Serious Crime Court No 23 in Istanbul Judicial Complex located in Çağlayan. In the trial, in which the paper’s Publishing Consultancy Board members Aslı Erdoğan, Necmiye Alpay, Bilge Aykut, Ragıp Zarakolu and Filiz Koçali, Editor-in-Chief Zana (Bilir) Kaya, Responsible Editor İnan Kızılkaya, Proprietor Kemal Sancılı and Columnist Eren Keskin are being prosecuted, the detained defendants Kızılkaya and Sancılı appeared in court for the fifth time after 440 and 301 days respectively. The Journalists Union of Turkey, calling for participation in both trials on social media, wrote, “#Wearemeetingtomorrowat9atÇağlayan to say #FreedomforJournalists on trial in the Özgür Gündem and Cumhuriyet trials. #JournalismIsNotaCrime.”
 
İnan Kızılkaya’s brother Hasan Kızılkaya had stated that everyone who wished to stand up for press freedom needed to be at Çağlayan Judicial Complex the next day.
 
Hearing commenced with ID checks
 
The fifth hearing in the main Özgür Gündem trial started at Istanbul Serious Crime Court No 23. The detained defendants İnan Kızılkaya and Kemal Sancılı were brought into the courtroom. The hearing commenced with identification checks.
 
Necmiye Alpay and Eren Keskin, on release pending trial, were also in the courtroom.
 
Özcan Kılıç, Attorney-at-Law, sought the release of the detained defendants and the lifting of the release conditions applied to Eren Keskin.
 
Özcan Kılıç, Attorney-at-Law: “There is an insistent search for organisational ties. Do not expect my clients’ organisational ties to emerge; they will not do so. İnan Kızılkaya is a defendant for having performed his duty in line with the Press Law. He must be prosecuted pursuant to the provisions of this law. Kemal Sancılı is insistently held responsible by the prosecution for news reports even though he has no liability under the Press Law. There is a trail into editorial policy here. Kemal Sancılı should not be on trial because it is not a trial into its economic operations.” Kemal Sancılı addressed the hearing and said, “I agree with my attorney’s statements. I seek my release.”
 
İnan Kızılkaya: “I have been deprived of freedom for 441 days and am in solitary confinement. The worst thing to happen to me is not my being in detention for 441 days, but the closure of my paper.”
 
The key points from Kızılkaya’s defence are as follow:
 
I am a journalist and I stand by all the reports I have made. This society is entitled to acquire information and this is a constitutional right. Journalism is not a crime. Everyone on trial for journalism should be released.
 
Kızılkaya after 440 days, Sancılı after 301
 
The release of two journalists was ordered at the fifth hearing of the Özgür Gündem trial heard at Istanbul Serious Crime Court No 23. İnan Kızılkaya , having spent 441 days in detention, and Kemal Sancılı were released.

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