Oktay Candemir - “Insulting the President” Trial

Van Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against journalist Oktay Candemir.

According to the indictment Candemir in his Twitter account, had tweeted:

“Erdoğan, by appointing trustees to the Mayorships, identifies where each political structure stands and will now play accordingly. Sooner or later this will give birth to new developments. Erdoğan, who sees that, is trying to make sure those developments born crippled. An example of divide and run policy”.

Candemir, Türk Ceza Kanunu’nun 299. maddesi uyarınca “Cumhurbaşkanına alenen hakaret etmekle” suçlandı. Kanuna göre, bir kişi hakkında bu suçlamaya ile dava açılabilmesi için Adalet Bakanı’nın izni gerekiyor. Candemir hakkında dava açılabilmesi için gereken bakanlık izni de 13 Aralık 2019 tarihinde verildi.

Candemir was accused of “publicly insulting the President” according to the article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code.
He was requested to be sentenced to, from one to four years. However it was claimed that the “crime of insulting the President was committed publicly”. Therefore, the requested sentence, was requested to be increased by a sixth according th the paragraph two of the article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code. Candemir, in total, was requested to be sentenced to, from one year two months to four years eight months of imprisonment.

Journalist Oktay Candemir’s trial started with the first hearing at Van 3rd Criminal Court of First Instance on July 7, 2020. Main judge was excused. It was seen that a new judge was appointed on his place. Candemir’s attorney Selda Aydın was absent with an excuse.

The second hearing of the trial was held on October 8th, 2020. The panel of judges had changed. Candemir attended the hearing with his lawyer Sevda Aydın. Candemir, delivered his first defense speech in this hearing.

He stated that he had been a journalist for 17 years. He indicated that the post for which he was accused was about the political agenda of the time. He said that the article he shared concerned “the possible political consequences of a split within AKP, and of the establishment of DEVA Party and Future Party”, and added that “there is not a single word of insult”, demanding his acquittal. Candemir also demanded that the announcement of a possible prison sentence be deferred.

Candemir’s lawyer Sevda Aydın, on the other hand, stated that the posts were simply criticism, rather than insult: “In the article, there is no remark that may denigrate someone’s honor, prestige or personality. This trial has been launched because my client is a dissident. Trying and imprisoning dissident figures in the media is shameful for democracy and rule of law.” She stated that trying a media professional on such pretexts was not compatible with the freedom of press. She demanded Candemir’s acquittal.

The court ruled to send the case file to the prosecutor’s office, for drafting the judicial opinion as to the accusations.

The trial will continue with the third hearing on March 4th, 2021.



Oktay Candemir

Contact: pressinarrest@gmail.com

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