The second hearing of a Turkish trial of journalists took place at İstanbul’s 34th High Criminal Court on 9 September. The journalists were accused of reporting the killing of a Turkish intelligence officer in Libya.
The journalists were accused of “disclosing information relating to the security and political interests of the state” (Turkish Penal Code Art. 329/1) and of “obtaining documents and information relating to National Intelligence Organisation’s duties and operations” (Law on State Intelligence Services and the National Intelligence Organisation Art. 27/3).
Oda TV’s Editor-in-Chief, Barış Pehlivan, alongside Yeniçağ newspaper columnist Murat Ağırel and Hülya Kılınç (a reporter from Manisa) had been in pre-trial detention. Oda TV’s News Director, Barış Terkoğlu, Yeni Yaşam’s Editor-in-Chief, Ferhat Çelik, and Managing Editor, Aydın Keser, had been released during the first hearing held on 25 June 2020.
Çelik, Keser and Ağırel were sentenced to four years, eight months and seven days in prison on charges of violating the National Intelligence Organisation (MİT) Law.
Pehlivan and Kılınç were sentenced to three years and nine months on the same charge.
Terkoğlu and opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP’s) Manisa Akhisar Municipality Press Unit worker, Eren Ekinci, were acquitted of all crimes.
The court decided that Pehlivan, Kılınç and Ağırel could be released at this point with an international travel ban imposed on them, considering the time that they had already spent in pre-trial detention.
The file of Erk Acarer, who is currently abroad, has been kept separate.
After being released, Barış Pehlivan stated: “There is no crime or criminality involved in this case. The aim is to punish us for our entire lives working in journalism. No one should doubt this: We will keep writing for a fair future, starting where we just left off”.