An article entitled “Mersin Women’s Platform: We are exposing the molester attorney Onur Kale was published in ETHA on May 1, 2016, while journalist Derya Okatan was working as the editor in charge.
The article was about the allegations that “attorney Onur Kale had sexually harassed the members of Mersin Women’s Platform who were taken into custody by the Counter Terror Branch of Mersin Police Precinct”. The article that shared the allegations of “verbal and physical harassment” was based on the press statement of Mersin Women’s Platform.
Aforementioned attorney, filed an official complained against ETHA’s editor in charge Derya Okatan for “calumny” and “insult”, after the article was published in the agency. The compliant, made to Mersin Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, was sent to Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, with a decision of rejection of venue. The decision was based on the reasoning that the headquarters of the agency was in Istanbul.
Following the complaint against Okatan, Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation. Okatan gave a statement within the scope of the investigation. Okatan said she did not write the article, did non remember who wrote it and the content of the article was based on Mersin Women’s Platform’s press statement. She said there was no intent of “calumny” and “insult”.
Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office ruled that “there was no need for a prosecution”. Case was closed with that decision of non prosecution. However the attorney made an appeal against the decision of non prosecution to Istanbul 14th Criminal Court of Peace. Court denied the attorney’s appeal. The attorney made another appeal to the 8th Criminal Chamber of Court of Cassation for “appeal for the sake of law”. Chamber found the appeal appropriate. Overruled the Istanbul 14th Criminal Court of Peace’s decision.
The indictment against Okatan, due to the decision of the 8th Criminal Chamber of Court of Cassation, was completed on September 9, 2019.
The indictment against Ethin News Agency’s (ETHA) former editor in charge Derya Okatan was completed by the Press Related Crimes Investigation Bureau of Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on September 9, 2019. The indictment was two pages long.
Prosecutor claimed that this article “imputed a solid act that would hurt attorney Kale’s honour, pride and reputation”. Prosecutor claimed that through the web-article “public insult crime” was committed.
Okatan was claimed to have committed the crime of “insult” according to the article 125/1 of the Turkish Penal Code. She was requested to be sentenced to, from three months to two years of imprisonment. However it was claimed that the “crime of insult was committed publicly”. Therefore the requested sentence was requested to be increased by a sixth, according to the article 125/4 of the Turkish Penal Code. Thus Okatan, was requested to be sentenced to, from 3 months 15 days to 2 years 4 months of imprisonment for committing the crime of “public insult”.
Okatan was also requested to be “bereaved of specific rights” according to the article 53 of the Turkish Penal Code.
Journalist Derya Okatan’s trial started with the first hearing at Istanbul 39th Criminal Court of First Instance on February 20, 2020. Attorney Mehmet Ali Koç, said Okatan, who lived in Ankara, was not officially notified.
The trial was set to continue with the second hearing on April 16, 2020. However the hearing was postponed to September 24, 2020, due to the measures taken against the “coronavirus” pandemic.
The third hearing was scheduled for September 24th, 2020. However, the trial was postponed since the judge was on leave.
The trial will continue with the fourth hearing scheduled for January 26th, 2021.
Press in Arrest is a database, monitoring, documentation and collective memory study of Press Research Association.
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