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Defendants: Kemal Sancılı, İnan Kızılkaya

Media Outlet and Position: Özgür Gündem – Former publisher and managing editor

Accusations: Spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization

Possible sentence: –

Court: İstanbul 27. High Criminal Court

Case Background: 

Kemal Sancılı, former publisher of now-closed pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem newspaper and İnan Kızılkaya, daily’s managing editor are charged with “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” over three articles published in 2016.

The eighth hearing of this case was held on October 2, 2019. The court rejected the request to merge the case with the ongoing Özgür Gündem main trial held at İstanbul 23. High Criminal Court.

On October 11, Sancılı who was in prison since May 11, 2018, was released following his lawyer’s appeal to compensate for his time served.

The court referred the case file to the prosecutor for a final opinion and adjourned the trial until November 28, 2019. During the hearing on November 28, the prosecutor submitted his final opinion requesting both journalists to be sentenced on the charges of “spreading terrorist propaganda”.

During the hearing on December 10, the defense lawyers requested the file to be merged with Özgür Gündem main trial where both journalists are also defendants based on the law for ban of repetitive trials. According to Turkish law, the ban of repetitive trials prohibits same defendants to be tried simultaneously on the same charges. The court ruled to send the case-files over to the Regional Court to resolve the merger dispute and adjourned the hearing until March 26.