Oktay and Uğur Akgül, reporters for the Dicle News Agency, which would later be closed down with a Decree Law, were covering the curfew in the Nusaybin district of Mardin. While the military operation continued in the district, Oktay and Akgül’s house in Çatalözü neighborhood was raided by special operations squads. After the house search, the two journalists were detained.
It was claimed that Meltem Oktay and Uğur Akgül exposed sensitive information about the ongoing military operations. Oktay was arrested on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization”. Uğur Akgül was released, pending trial on charges of ”spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization“.
The evidence in the indictment consisted of 9 witness statements, including some by secret witnesses, as well as social media posts.
The first hearing of the trial was held on June 24, 2016. Meltem Oktay was released at the second hearing on August 18, 2016.
The final hearing took place on November 8, 2016. Oktay was acquitted from charges of ”membership of a terrorist organization”. However, Oktay was sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment on account of her Tweets. Uğur Akgül was sentenced to 2 years, 6 months in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization“.
The verdict was upheld by the court of appeal in January 2017. Oktay was detained again on April 20, 2017 in Edirne following this ruling of the court of appeal. Akgül was arrested on August 8, 2018.
The 1. Judiciary Reform Package, which came into force on October 24, 2019 made it possible to appeal to prison sentences of less than 5 years as well, and as a result, Akgül was released from Mardin E-Type Closed Prison and Oktay from Gebze Women’s Closed Prison on October 25, 2019.
Press in Arrest is a database, monitoring, documentation and collective memory study of Press Research Association.
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