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Defendants: Mehmet Baransu, Murat Şevki Çoban

Media Outlet and Position: Taraf Newspaper – Columnist, Managing Editor

Status: Imprisoned (names in bold)

Facility: Silivri Prison, İstanbul

Accusations: Possessing and revealing secret documents in relation to national security

Possible sentence: 26 up to 52 years

Court: Anadolu 10. High Criminal Court

Case Background: 

Mehmet Baransu, a former columnist for the now-shuttered Taraf newspaper, and Murat Şevki Çoban, the daily’s former managing editor, are being accused of “possessing and revealing secret documents pertaining to national security” over an article published in 2013. The case was filed upon the National Intelligence Agency’s (MİT) complaint, accusing the journalists of possessing secret MİT documents and revealing them via the press. The prosecution is asking for a sentence of up to 52 years for both Baransu and Çoban.

Baransu was already arrested on March 2, 2015, on charges of “revealing information that is to be kept secret for the security and political benefit of the state”. He was also given a 10-month prison sentence in June 2015, on a separate charge of insulting President Erdoğan in a series of tweets.

Baransu and four other Taraf journalists are being tried on several charges in another case in relation to an alleged military coup plan named the “Balyoz Operation” in 2010. Journalists are accused of “revealing state secrets” in their reports at the time of those generals’ trials who allegedly planned the Balyoz Operation. The generals were acquitted of all charges, yet the journalists’ detention and their trials continue.

During a hearing October 17, 2018, the trial was adjourned in order for missing documents to be submitted and adjourned until December 12, 2018.

The 18th hearing took place on March 6, 2019, but Baransu was unable to attend due to health-related concerns. The case has been adjourned until June 19, 2019.