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Defendants: Ruken Demir

Media Outlets and Positions: Mezopotamya News Agency – Reporter

Accusations: Membership of a terrorist organization

Possible sentence: –

Court: İzmir 19. High Criminal Court

Case Background

Ruken Demir, İzmir correspondent for pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya News Agency, was first detained on November 12, 2019, and then arrested on November 26 on the charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”. Demir is facing prosecution over her reports, phone calls and interviews with political prisoners and the prisons’ conditions. Interviews and reports were cited as “so-called” interviews in the indictment and as reporting false-news. The prosecutor’s office accused Demir of working for the media branch of outlawed PKK/KCK groups.

First hearing took place on March 5 during which Demir was released from pretrial detention. Next hearing on April 28 was postponed without taking place due to suspension of all judicial proceedings between mid-March and June 15 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Next hearing will take place on July 7, 2020.

The most recent hearing took place on July 7, 2020. Demir’s request to revoke the judicial control measure was rejected.

Demir and her lawyer requested additional time to prepare a defense after examining the case file. The court granted additional time and postponed the hearing to November 9.

The fourth hearing on November 9, 2020, was postponed due to the earthquake that occurred in İzmir on October 30, 2020. The fifth and sixth hearings took place on January 14 and on February 23, 2021, respectively. Demir and her lawyers attended the last hearing.

It was stated that the police report regarding Demir’s social media accounts requested from İzmir Provincial Police Department Cyber ​​Crimes Bureau was not yet submitted to the court.

Demir’s lawyers requested that all confiscated material including Demir’s phone and computers during Demir’s detention be returned. He also said that three computers belonging to Demir were confiscated during the police raid. Although in the official report it was stated that all three of them were returned, only two computers were returned.

In addition, Demir’s lawyers requested that the judicial control orders imposed on Demir be lifted. The prosecutor requested the missing information in the file to be corrected, and also he demanded the continuation of the judicial control measures applied against Demir. The court lifted the judicial control measure for Demir to go to the police department weekly for signature, while rejected the request to lift the international travel ban.

During the hearing on June 8, 2021, the court ruled for the police report on cyber examination of her records to be examined and missing files in the document to be completed and adjourned the hearing until October 5.