Journalist Seda Taşkın was detained on December 20, 2017 in Muş while following a news story for Mesopotamia News Agency. Half an hour after she was identity checked and released, she was summoned to the Muş Police Department by a police officer saying “There is a document you need to sign” on the phone. On the road to the police department, an armored vehicle approached her, and the police detained her claiming “There is a serious tip-off about you”.
Her file was declared to be “secret”. Following the interrogation by the police, she was referred to the prosecutor’s office, which in turn referred her to the court demanding her arrest. On December 23, the criminal court of peace released her on condition of judicial control. After the Prosecutor’s Office objected to her release on December 27, she was detained again on January 22, 2018 during a police raid on her house in Ankara.
She was subsequently arrested on January 23, on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization” (Turkish Penal Code, 314/2) after her statement was taken by Bitlis Criminal Court of Peace via the judiciary videoconferencing system SEGBİS.
The indictment was completed on February 2, 2018 by Muş Public Prosecutor. Muş 2. High Criminal Court accepted the indictment on March 2, 2018 and opened a lawsuit. She stood trial on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” (Anti-Terror Law, 7/2) and “membership of a terrorist organization” (TPC, 314/2).
The 47-page indictment cited as evidence the phone conversations she had with news sources, as well as news stories and social media posts.
The first hearing was held on April 30 at the Muş 2. High Criminal Court. Journalist Taşkın was connected to the hearing via SEGBİS from Sincan Women’s Prison. During the hearing it turned out that the tip-off e-mail about Taşkın came from an address with the extension “egm”, used by members of the police. The hearing was adjourned until July 2, 2018, while the court ordered the continuation of her detention.
At the second hearing of the case, the court ordered the continuation of her detention once again.
At the third hearing on September 12, 2018, the prosecutor submitted his opinion as to the accusations, and demanded that Taşkın be sentenced for “membership of a terrorist organization” and “continuously spreading propaganda”.
The court handed down a prison sentence of 7 years, 6 months at the final hearing.
The lawyers filed an appeal against the ruling with the Erzurum Regional Court, which ordered the release of Taşkın.
The final hearing of the appeal proceedings was held on May 15, 2019. At the end of the hearing, the court acquitted Taşkın on charges of “knowing and willingly aiding the organization without being part of its hierarchical structure”. However she was sentenced to 1 year, 11 months, 10 days of imprisonment on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”, but the announcement of the verdict was deferred.
Upon the objection by the prosecutor’s office, the file was referred to the Court of Cassation, where the proceedings are still under way.