Hürriyet sued for publication after complaint by terror suspect
Burcu Purtul Uçar - ISTANBULThree Turkish newspapers, including daily Hürriyet, are set to stand trial on charges of making propaganda for a terrorist organization for publishing a photo from a recent hostage crisis in Istanbul.
The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office has asked the court to jail 18 journalists from nine newspapers for up to 7.5 years each over the publication of photos on April 1 that showed Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz’s captivity in the hands of militants. Kiraz was killed on March 31 following an eight-hour standoff that began after Şafak Yayla and Bahtiyar Doğruyol, two members of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), took him hostage in Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse on the grounds that he was moving too slowly in bringing the police killers of Gezi victim Berkin Elvan to justice.
While charging nine newspapers, Prosecutor Hüseyin Parlakkılıç issued a decision of non-prosecution against the Hürriyet, Yeniçağ and Dokuz Sütun newspapers on June 2, stressing that the editorial way the newspapers published the photo was in the scope of the freedom of the press and could not be construed as a crime, citing the European Court of Human Rights rulings.
However, Abdülkadir Uslu, a citizen who is on trial at the 14th Istanbul Court of Serious Crimes as a terror suspect, filed an individual objection, asking a judge to overrule the decision of non-prosecution. The Bakırköy 2nd Criminal Magistrate of Peace accepted the complaint and returned the indictment to the prosecutor.
Due to judiciary recess, the file went to another prosecutor, Mustafa Gökay, who prepared a new indictment that charged the three newspapers on July 28. The 2nd Penal Court of First Instance in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district accepted the indictment the same day, beginning preparations for a trial.
In April, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lambasted media organizations for their coverage of the hostage crisis, accusing them of treason for being the “partners of the terrorists” who were involved in the killing of the prosecutor.