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Defendants: Semiha Şahin, Pınar Gayıp

Media Outlet and Position: Etkin Haber Ajansı – Editor, reporter

Status: Imprisoned

Facility: Bakırköy Women’s Prison, Istanbul

Accusations: Membership of a terrorist organization; Making terrorist propaganda

Possible sentences: –

Court: İstanbul 23. High Criminal Court

Case Background: 

Semiha Şahin, an editor for Etkin News Agency (ETHA), and Pınar Gayıp, a reporter for ETHA, were arrested on April 19, 2018, after a week in detention following a police raid on their houses on April 13, 2018.

The journalists are accused of “membership of a terrorist organization” and “making terrorist propaganda” and were placed in pretrial detention, along with two other individuals.

Having spent almost five months in pre-trial detention, the journalists were brought to court for the first time on September 10, 2018. Emphasizing that ETHA is still a legally broadcasting news agency, the journalists requested they be released on bail.  The court ruled to sustain their pretrial detention.  At their second hearing to December 5, 2018, both journalists’ detention was again sustained, despite their requests for release on bail.

In the meantime, ETHA’s news site and Facebook page have been blocked by the court ruling. Its news articles are only available via VPN extension.

During the third hearing on January 30, 2019, defendants’ lawyers requested additional time to submit their defense statement and asked journalists to be released from detention. The court ruled the continuation of journalists’ detention on the grounds of having only judicial control would not be sufficient.

At their hearing on March 27, 2019, their detention was prolonged once again. Defense lawyers request for an extension, on the grounds that they had not yet had a chance to consult the evidence against their clients, was denied. Their next hearing is set for June 13, 2019.