In the initial hearing of the trial concerning 18 Kurdish journalists, it came to light that the prosecutor tasked with preparing the indictment was married to a court member. The presiding judge rejected the request of the recusal of the judge.
The trial, which revolves around accusations of “membership in an illegal organisation” due to the journalists’ professional activities, is taking place in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Diyarbakır (Amed).
The journalists, who all worked for pro-Kurdish media outlets such as the Mezopotamya Agency (MA) and the Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG), were initially detained during a series of raids in Diyarbakır on 8 June 2022.
Months passed before prosecutors finally released a 728-page indictment in March of this year. The document relied on content produced by the journalists and their media organisations, as well as their editorial preferences, as evidence against them.
Out of the 18 individuals facing charges, 14 have remained in pretrial detention. Lawyers and human rights defenders have criticised the protracted judicial process, viewing it as a form of punishment and a deterrent tactic employed in Turkey.
According to the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA), at least 53 journalists and media workers are imprisoned or convicted in Turkey.