Hayko Bağdat - "Insulting the President in Successive Intervals” and "Insulting the Public Official" Trial

Journalist Hayko Bağdat, on “Özgürüz” website, published an article entitled “Erdoğan hakkında son yazım” on April 14, 2017.

President Tayyip Erdoğan’s attorney Ahmet Özel, filed a complaint to the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, regarding Bağdat’s article on April 17, 2017. Bağdat, through the article, was accused of “insulting the President”.

On the other hand, a denunciation, regarding some social media posts, shared on Bağdat’s personal account, was made to the Communication Centre of the Prime Ministry(BİMER). It was claimed that the social media posts had “insulted the then-Prime-Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan”.

Prime Ministry’s Communication Center (BİMER) is a public relations application realised by using the information and communication technologies. It is a webpage where citizens voice their requests, denunciations and complaints directly to the relevant authorities while executing their rights within the scope of Law on the Right to Be Informed and Law on Right of Petition.

BİMER was cancelled due to the Governmental System Change brought by the Constitutional Amendment in 2017. With that amendment, parliamentary system was replaced by “Presidential System” called “Presidential Government System” by the government. The amendment was put in motion in June 2018. BİMER was replaced by Presidency’s Communication Center (CİMER).

The investigation launched due to the complaint of the President Tayyip Erdoğan and the investigation launched due to the denunciations made to BİMER, were consolidated.

Within the scope of the consolidated case, Bağdat was to give a statement. However Istanbul Police Precinct’s Section of Security informed the prosecutor’s office that Bağdat, on December 12, 2016, had led the country. Therefore his statement was not taken.

Prosecutor’s Office, requested Istanbul Criminal Court of Peace to issue a capture warrant against Bağdat as his statement was not taken. Due to the request, Istanbul 11th Criminal Court of Peace issued a capture warrant against Bağdat on December 13, 2018.

The indictment against Bağdat was completed on July 24, 2019.

The indictment showed the article “Erdoğan hakkında son yazım” published at “Özgürüz” web news site on April 14, 2017 and four social media posts as the base of the accusations. Bağdat’s article was written before the referendum on April 16, 2017 where the administrative system of Turkey was voted to be changed. Social media posts, dated January 2014, March 2015, May 2017 and April 2017 were put in the indictment.

The indictment accused Bağdat of “insulting the President” according to the article 299/1 of the Turkish Penal Code. He was requested to be sentenced to, from one to four years of imprisonment. The indictment claimed that the “crime was committed publicly”. Therefore the requested sentence was requested to be increased by a sixth according to the article 299/2 of the TPC. It was claimed that the “crime of making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” was “committed in a successive manner”. On that ground, already requested to be increased sentence was requested to be increased by from a quarter to three quarters, according to the article 43 of the Turkish Penal Code. He was, in total, requested to be sentenced to, from one year five months 15 days to eight years two months of imprisonment.

On the other hand, Bağdat was accused of “insulting a public official due to the performance of his public duty” according to the articles 125/1 and 125/3(a), as one of the subject matter posts was shared in 2014 and at that time Tayyip Erdoğan was the Prime Minister. He was requested to be sentenced to, from one year to two years.

On the other hand, Bağdat was accused of “insulting a public official due to the performance of his public duty” according to the articles 125/1 and 125/3(a), as one of the subject matter posts was shared in 2014 and at that time Tayyip Erdoğan was the Prime Minister. He was requested to be sentenced to, from one year to two years.

Trial of journalist Hayko Bağdat started at Istanbul 50th Criminal Court of First Instance.

Second hearing of the case was held on April 29, 2020. However the hearing was postponed due to the measures taken against the coronavirus pandemic.

Third hearing of the case was held on October 14, 2020. Bağdat, who was abroad, was not present at the hearing. He was represented by his attorney Ali Deniz Ceylan. Ceylan stated that Bağdat was abroad for work reasons and could not return to the country due to the coronavirus pandemic and requested Bağdat’s statement to be taken in Germany. Ceylan also presented Bağdat’s address in Germany to the court.

Court lifted the capture warrant against Bağdat as his address abroad was presented. It was ruled that the necessary dispatches were to be made with Germany to take Bağdat’s statement.

The trial is set to continue with the fourth hearing on February 3, 2021.

Documents

Indictment

Journalists
Hayko Bağdat

Contact: pressinarrest@gmail.com

Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.