Abdurrahman Gök, a Kurdish journalist and editor at the Mesopotamya Agency (MA), was released from custody during his second court appearance on Tuesday.
Arrested on 25 April in Diyarbakir (Amed), Gök faced grave accusations including “membership in a terrorist organisation” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation”. The proceedings took place at the Diyarbakir 5th High Criminal Court, with Gök personally attending and representatives from journalist organisations present.
The key witness, Ümit Akbıyık, connected to the hearing remotely. Akbıyık claimed to recognise Gök as an employee of Pel Production, although he was uncertain of the exact timeframe of their encounter. “I don’t have any other information about the individual,” he added.
Gök refuted these claims, underscoring his over two decades in journalism, predominantly in conflict zones. “I am not an employee of Pel Production but of MA. All evidence presented by the prosecution is related to my work at MA,” he stated. He also highlighted inconsistencies in Akbıyık’s testimony, including his injury in January 2020, which required him to use a crutch, contradicting Akbıyık’s assertions.
Addressing the charges, Gök contended that his eight-month detention was a result of his journalistic work, particularly his coverage of the Diyarbakir Police in the Kemal Kurkut case. He stressed the nature of his communications, noting, “A journalist does not practice journalism in the language of the government.”
Gök’s lawyers, Resul Temur and Mehmet Emin Aktar, along with MLSA lawyer Veysel Ok, dismissed the witness’s credibility. They argued for Gök’s non-association with Pel Production and the baselessness of the terrorism charges, citing the Constitutional Court’s decision in the Cemil Uğur case to bolster their argument.
In light of Gök’s prolonged detention, the prosecution sought his release. The court agreed, imposing a travel ban and adjourning the trial to 12 March.