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Defendants: Havva Cuştan, İsminaz Temel

Media Outlet and Position: ETHA – Journalists

Accusations: Membership of a terrorist organization; Spreading terrorist propaganda


Case Background: 

İsminaz Temel, an editor at the Etkin News Agency (ETHA), was detained along with her colleague Havva Cuştan, a reporter for ETHA on October 19, 2017, following a police raid on their houses. They were accused of “membership in a terrorist organization.” The court ordered their formal arrest on October 25, 2017.  Temel and Cuştan were among 13 people arrested over their association with the Marxist-Leninist political party “Ezilenlerin Sosyalist Partisi” (Socialist Party of the Oppressed). Their news reports and social media posts, as well as the funerals that they attended, were cited as evidence against them.

Possession of books written by Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of outlawed group Kurdistan’s Workers Party (PKK), were added to the case as criminal evidence against Havva Cuştan.

Indictment for the trial was initially prepared for 23 people, 13 of whom are currently in pretrial detention. The first hearing was set for July 16-17, 2018, which marked almost nine months of pre-trial detention for Cuştan and Temel. After the first hearing, Cuştan was released, while Temel remained behind bars.

During the case’s fourth hearing on February 14, 2019, Temel was also released on bail with a travel ban. During a hearing on April 24, the court rejected the request to lift travel ban on journalists.

During the sixth hearing in the case that took place on September 3, the court ruled to bring anonymous witnesses in the case to the next hearing by force in order to record their statements. Requests to lift travel ban on journalists were rejected. Next hearing is scheduled for November 26, 2019.

As the seventh hearing took place on November 26, the court ruled hearing two secret witnesses in the case is no longer necessary and ruled to maintain judicial control measures against the defendants. The next hearing is adjourned until March 13, 2020.

During the eight hearing on March 13, the court rejected the request of the defense lawyers to lift the travel ban imposed on their clients, renounced hearing the two secret witnesses in the file. The next hearing was adjourned until June 10, 2020.

Due to suspension of all judicial proceedings since early March until June 15 because of COVID-19 pandemic, the June 10 hearing was postponed to September 23.

During the September 23 hearing, the court ruled to wait the execution warrants for several defendants and rejected all demands to lift judicial control measures of defendants.

During the hearing on February 18, 2021, Cuştan and Temel did not attend the hearing, their lawyers were present. The court granted additional time for other defendants in the case to complete the missing documents.

During the most recent hearing on May 25, the statement of one of the co-defendants in the case was heard, the next trial was adjourned to October 12, 2021.

Read more about the case.