İsmail Yıldız (Rawin Sterk) – “Membership of an Armed Terrorist Organization” “Propaganda of Terrorist Organization in Successive Intervals” Trial

Rudaw TV reporter İsmail Yıldız (Rawin Sterk) was taken into custody on February 28, 2020, while following the news about the refugees, on Greek border in Edirne, along with cameramen Şirin Akgün. Many journalists working at the border were taken into custody around same days.

Before Yıldız was taken into custody, Turkey had declared that it would not supervise the border crossings of the refugees and thousands of refugees had gathered around the border to illegally cross to Greece.

Yıldız, who was taken into custody by the Gendarmerie, was accused of “military frontier infringement”. Akgün and other journalists were released after the paperwork at the gendarmerie. However Yıldız’s custody was extended.

Yıldız, after being detained in Edirne for three days, was brought to Ankara on March 3. It was stated that Yıldız was brought to Ankara because of an investigation dated 2018 and was being kept under custody at Anti-Terror Bureau of Ankara Police Headquarters.

Custody processes in Edirne and Ankara took six days. A confidentiality order regarding the investigation was issued. He was taken to the court on March 6, 2020. He was interrogated for his social media posts.

Yıldız was accused of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” and was sent to the court with a request for his arrest.

Yıldız, who was accused and requested to be arrested for “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation”, was ruled to be arrested by Ankara 7th Criminal Court of Peace for “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”. Yıldız, after being arrested on March 6, 2020, was taken to Sincan Prison.

Objections of Yıldız’s attorneys on his detainment were overruled. Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, later reached a decision of lack of jurisdiction and sent the case files to Istanbul.

The indictment against him was completed on July 24, 2020. Yıldız, waited for the indictment to be completed for over four months in prison.

The indictment claimed that “numerous photos showing that at an event made on behalf of PKK/KCK terrorist organisation, photos of the leaders and members of the organisation and the so-called flag of the organisation were opened publicly for everyone to see”, in the digital material seized after he was taken into custody.

It was claimed that the inspection made on his cellphone “had showed photos; taken during the trainings/demonstrations of PKK/KCK terrorist organisation members and of members of the organisation”.

Yıldız had previously worked at Dicle News Agency, which was later shut down, and joined various broadcasts of Roj TV, which was airing from the Netherlands and was shut down due to the efforts of Turkey, over the phone as a guest. These were subjects to the accusations.

Among the evidence against Yıldız were also the investigation launched for “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” in 2007 and his participation in the trial, publicly known as “KCK Press Case”.

It was claimed that “an open source research was made on Yıldız’s social media accounts and he, on his social media accounts, had made many publications, in a manner to promote the terrorist organisation”. However the indictment did not include the content of aforementioned posts.

In the indictment Yıldız, who was taken into custody and requested to be arrested, by Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on the grounds of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” then arrested for “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation”, was once again accused of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation”.

The indictment accused Yıldız of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” according to the article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code and article 5 of the Anti-Terror Law. She was requested to be sentenced to, from seven years six months to 15 years of imprisonment.

Yıldız was also accused of “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” according to the article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law. Within this scope she was requested to be sentenced to, from one year to five years of imprisonment. However the indictment claimed that “the crime was committed in a successive manner”. Therefore the requested sentence was requested to be increased by, from a quarter to three quarters according to the article 43 of the Turkish Penal Code. Thus he was requested to be sentenced to, from one year three months to eight years nine months of imprisonment.

Yıldız, in total, is facing from, right years nine months to 23 years nine months of imprisonment.

Trial started with the first hearing on September 2, 2020 at Istanbul 34th Assize Court. İsmail Yıldız, who was detained at Ankara Sincan Prison for the past six months, participated in the hearing through Audio and Video Information System (SEGBİS).

Yıldız, stating that there were tangible errors in the indictment, said “it is claimed that through my social media posts, I was making propaganda for a terrorist organisation. Yet none of the subject matter posts include any elements regarding the organisation. Files of the Istanbul-case is no different than the files of the Adana-case, where I was tried and acquitted. There’s no question as to the spoliation of the evidence. I have two kids and an ill father that I am responsible of” and requested his release.

Prosecutor of the case, in the opinion as to the accusations, requested the case files of Yıldız to be consolidated with the ongoing case at Istanbul 3rd Assize Court, commonly known as “KCK Press Case”. Prosecutor requested the continuation of Yıldız’s detention for having “suspicion to flee”.

Court ruled to release Yıldız. However Yıldız was banned to leave the country. Yıldız, after being detained for almost six months, was released.

Court granted prosecutor’s request to consolidate the case files of Yıldız with the files of the case commonly known as “KCK Press Case” at Istanbul 3rd Assize Court, where Yıldız, too, was being tried.

KCK Press Case was ruled to continue with the hearing at December 1, 2020.

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