The former managing editor of Evrensel Newspaper, İsmail Cem Şimşek was charged with “insulting the President” as per Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code, for the news article titled “Alman Karikatüristler Erdoğan’ı Fena Çizdi” (“The German Cartoonists’ Nasty Portrayal of Erdoğan”) published on the website of the newspaper on August 1, 2015.
An investigation was launched upon Erdoğan’s complaint, and the cartoons in German were translated into Turkish.
In his statement at the prosecutor’s office İsmail Cem Şimşek stated that cartoons had been published in 2015, and pointed to the expiry of the statute of limitations. He also indicated that the cartoons’ illustrators, and the newspapers and magazines that published them were known, and that he was not responsible for the cartoons.
On March 11, 2019, a permission was received from the Ministry of Justice to sue Şimşek for “insulting the President” as per Article 299/1 of the Turkish Penal Code.
Şimşek’s trial began on October 10th, 2019 at İstanbul 13. High Criminal Court. In the hearing, Şimşek’s lawyer stated that the charge of “insulting the President” did not fall within the jurisdiction of the curt. The hearing was adjourned to evaluate this foreign plea.
The second hearing was held on October 31st, 2019. The judge indeed reached a “decision of non-jurisdiction” and decided to forward the case file to İstanbul Bakırköy 2. Criminal Court of First Instance.
After this decision, the trial continued at İstanbul Bakırköy 27th Criminal Court of First Instance.
The second hearing of the trial took place at İstanbul Bakırköy 27. Criminal Court of First Instance on July 6th, 2020. At the hearing, Şimşek was represented by his lawyer Gamze Gökoğlu. Lawyer Gökoğlu requested additional time to draft the defense statement.
The third hearing of the trial took place on October 27th, 2020. Journalist Şimşek, his lawyer, and the lawyer of President Tayyip Erdoğan -who filed the complaint against Şimşek- did not attend the hearing. The hearing was adjourned.
The trial will continue with the fourth hearing on January 19th, 2021.
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