Ali Sönmez Kayar - “Membership of an Armed Terrorist Organization” Trial

Etkin News Agency (ETHA) reporter Ali Sönmez Kayar was taken into custody by police officers on February 1, 2018 as he left the agency. He was taken to İstanbul Vatan Police Station and his lawyers were not informed of the reason for his detention. Under the scope of the same investigation, nine members of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) were taken into custody.

After six days in custody, he was referred to Bakırköy Courthouse on February 6, 2018. In the interrogation, he was questioned about protests and activities organized by ESP between 2013 and 2015, and statements against Kayar by three “secret witnesses”.

After the prosecutor’s interrogation, he was referred to court on charges of “membership of a armed terrorist organization.” Bakırköy Third Criminal Court of Peace ordered his arrest on charges of “membership of a armed terrorist organization.” Six other people aside from Kayar were arrested. He was sent to Silivri No. 2 F-Type Closed Prison.

İstanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office drafted the indictment against Kayar. The 242-page indictment was completed on March 1, 2018. It was accepted by Istanbul 32. High Criminal Court on April 11, 2018. The indictment requested that Kayar be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, on charges of “membership of a armed terrorist organization.”

The first hearing of the case was held on July 13, 2018. At the hearing, Kayar presented his defense and said, “The protests and activities that I follow for journalism purposes are presented as ground for accusation. I do not accept the accusation. I have committed no crime.”

At the first hearing, the court ruled the continuation of Kayar’s detention. Kayar was released on October 31, 2018 on condition of “judicial control.”

The next hearing will be held on October 13, 2019.

Press in Arrest is a database, monitoring, documentation and collective memory study of Press Research Association.
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