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Defendants: Ziya Çiçekçi

Media Outlet and Position: Özgür Gündem – Managing editor

Accusations: Spreading terrorist propaganda via the press

Possible sentence: 1 year 10 months 15 days up to 13 years 1 month 15 days

Court: İstanbul 33. High Criminal Court

Case Background:                                         

Ziya Çiçekçi, the former managing editor of now-closed pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem newspaper, was charged with “spreading terrorist propaganda via the press” over social media posts published from “Yeni Özgür Politika” (New Free Politics) newspaper account reportedly based in Germany. The indictment cited social media posts regarding outlawed group PKK’s founder members as criminal evidence.

The first hearing was held on September 26, 2019. Çiçekçi was not present due to leaving abroad. The public prosecutor requested an arrest warrant for Çiçekçi to be issued to submit his defense statement. The court accepted the request and issued an arrest warrant for Çiçekçi.

During the second hearing on December 27, 2019, the court ruled to wait for the execution of the arrest warrant and adjourned the next hearing until April 17, 2020.

During the April 17 hearing, the trial was postponed due to the measures taken for the Covid-19 pandemic.

The next hearing was held on June 19, 2020. Çiçekçi did not attend the hearing. The court ruled to adjourn the hearing to wait for the execution of the arrest warrant. During the fifth hearing on December 11, 2020, it was noted that the members of the panel of judges have been replaced.

During the sixth hearing on April 2, 2021, Çiçekçi was represented by his lawyers in the courtroom. The court ruled to wait until the arrest warrant on Çiçekçi to be implemented and adjourned the hearing to September 3, 2021.

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