The Odatv trial adjourned again – until 12 December 2013

Justice and press freedom in Turkey suffered further setbacks on 11 September, when an Istanbul court decided that the case against journalist and writer Profesor Yalçin Kücük should be adjourned until 12 December.

Kücük, one of the defendants in the Ergenekon trial, was sentenced to 22 years and six months in prison on 5 August, at the end of that trial held in the court in Silivri jail compound, 60 km west of Istanbul.Kücük faces relating charges in the Odatv trial and much of the hearing on 11 September was taken up with witness and lawyers’ statements countering the charges against him.

The case was further complicated by the fact that two of the three judges had been replaced since the last hearing in June, so some defence evidence was repeated for the benefit of the newcomers.

In the end, the court decided that the case be adjourned until 12 December, when it was expected that the prosecutor would make his final submission.

Since the trial started in 2011, all the journalists but Kücük have been released. The remaining nine, although free, are under threat of imprisonment, as they have not been acquitted of the charges against them. Among them is Muyesser Yildiz, the journalist adopted by the NUJ.

A team from the European Economic and Social Committee visited Istanbul on 9 September to hear the views of civil society representatives and individuals on the recent protests that took place in Turkey.

The committee of three heard a report from Ercan Ipekci, president of the Turkish Journalists’ Union, on the continuing threats to journalists and press freedom and freedom of expression. Ipekci also spoke about the plight of over 60 journalists in prison, the police attacks on journalists reporting the Taksim Square and Gezi Park demonstrations in June and July and the cases of journalists who were sacked for their reporting.

Others giving evidence at the first session included the director of Greenpeace, a lawyer from Taksim Solidarity, and the director of the Association of Women Entrepreneurs.

Ercan Ipekci was pleased with the positive response from the delegation which, the following day, held meetings in Ankara with civil society representatives, including trade unionists. It is not known when their report will be available.

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