Berzan Güneş graduated from Marmara University’s Faculty of Communications and Journalism Department. Güneş started his professional career as an editor of the news web site of the Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper. After the newspaper was shut down by a presidential decree, Güneş started working as a reporter for MA. He continues to work as a freelance journalist.
An investigation was launched against Güneş due to his social media posts while he was working for MA. He was taken into custody in Şırnak on June 11, 2018. He was released at the end of his first hearing on Aug. 7, 2018.
After further investigations were launched against him, Güneş left the country.
This file of Güneş was then consolidated with the case on which she was being tried for “membership of an organisation” at Istanbul Anatolian 2nd Assize Court. At the hearing at November 5th, 2019, following the consolidation, she was acquitted from the accusation of “membership of an organisation”. However she was sentenced to 3 years 1 mont 15 days of imprisonment for the accusation “making propaganda for an organisation”. The decision was then taken to the appeal court.
The Iğdır Public Prosecutor’s Office investigated Berzan Güneş, a journalist, due to his social media posts. An arrest warrant was issued against him. In the scope of the investigation, the police raided Güneş’s family home in Iğdır on April 4, 2018. His father was arrested.
After he was informed that his father was in custody, Güneş went to the District Police Department of Cizre, Şırnak to testify. After he completed his testimony, he was released.
However, another arrest warrant was issued against him in the scope of the same investigation. He was taken into custody after the police checked his identity at the entrance of Şırnak’s city center on June 11, 2018.
Due to his social media posts, Berzan Güneş testified to the Iğdır Criminal Court of Peace via the Audio and Video Information System [SEGBİS - a teleconference system within the judicial bodies].
After his testimony, Güneş was detained for “making propaganda for the organization.” His camera and camcorder were confiscated. He was sent to Şırnak T Type Closed Prison.
The ndictment against Berzan Güneş on June 6, 2018. The indictment contained two pages.
Güneş’ social media posts, which were “investigated by the Iğdır police to determine if they were propaganda,” were included in the indictment.
Nearly all of Güneş’s 18 Twitter posts dated between 2014-2018 were about the Syrian conflict. Some of the posts were the following:
“YPJ Commander Meryem Amara: ISIS is the mask of the enemies of Kurds. [“YPJ Komutanı Meryem Amara: IŞID, Kürt düşmanlarının maskesidir.”]
“We supported the YPG that resists terror.”” [“Teröre direnen YPG’nin yanındayız.]
“Kobane is ready for the Stalingrad resistance. Fifty thousand people are armed. It is bad news for those who wish the fall of Kobane. Kobane will win.” [“Kobani Stalingran direnişine hazır 50 bin kişi silahlanmış, Kobaninin düşmensini bekleyenler için kötü haber. Kobani kazanacak.”
“Raqqa is completely under control of QSD.” [“Rakka tamamen QSD güçlerinin denetiminde.”]
“Robert Fisk’s observations: Those who were murdered are refugees, babies, women, and children.” [“Robert Fisk’in Efrin izlenimleri: Öldürülen mülteci, bebek, kadın ve çocuk.”]
• “When I see the kids that were murdered in Efrin, I remember my Cemile.” [“Efrin’de ölen çocukları görünce Cemilem aklıma geliyor.”]
In addition to these, five books that were pulled off the shelf by court order and confiscated from Güneş’s residence were listed as “crime evidence” in the indictment.
Prosecutor recommended sentencing Berzan Güneş for “making propaganda for a terrorist organization.”
The Iğdır 2nd High Criminal Court accepted the indictment against Berzan Güneş. The first hearing of the trial was set for Aug. 7, 2018.
Güneş, who was detained in Şırnak T Type Closed Prison, attended the hearing via SEGBİS.
In his defense, Güneş said his posts were a part of his journalism profession, and noted his post related to the article of Robert Fisk was also included in the indictment. The presiding prosecutor recommended releasing Güneş due to the duration of time he had spent in prison.
The court ruled to release Güneş due to the duration of time he had spent in prison and applied travel ban as judicial control.
The second hearing of the trial was held on Sept. 4, 2018, but it was postponed due to a lack of attendance at the hearing. The third hearing of the trial was held on Oct. 16, 2018. In this hearing, the court ruled to merge the case with a separate trial for which Güneş was being prosecuted. The other prosecution was launched in the Istanbul Anatolia 2nd High Criminal Court due to Güneş’s professional activities.
While his prosecution was ongoing, Güneş left the country.
After the consolidation the trial continued at November 5th, 2019. The prosecutor in the opinion as to the accusations requested her to be to punished for the crimes of “membership of an organisation” and “making propaganda for an organisation”. At the end of the hearing she was acquitted from the accusation of “membership of an organisation” but was sentenced to 3 years 1 month 15 days of imprisonment for the accusation of “making propaganda for an organisation”.
The decision was taken to the appeal court.
Gazeteci Berzan Güneş’in bu davası, gazetecilik faaliyeti dışında “silahlı terör örgütü üyesi olmak” suçlamasıyla yürüyen başka bir davası ile birleştirildi.
Birleştirilen davanın karar duruşması İstanbul Anadolu 2. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nde görüldü.
Mahkeme heyetinin yerini alması ile başlayan duruşmaya sanık gazeteci Berzan Güneş katılmazken, avukatı Zelal Pelin Doğan hazır bulunu.
İlk olarak söz alan duruşma savcısı esas hakkındaki mütalaasını tekrar etti. Mütalaada Güneş’in “örgüt üyesi olmak” ve “örgüt propagandası yapmak” suçlarından cezalandırılması istendi.
Ardından söz alan Güneş’in avukatı Zelal Pelin Doğan, “Söz konusu üyelik suçu oluşmamıştır. Müvekkilimin parmak izinin bir kitap üzerinde çıkması onu örgüt üyesi yapmaz. Müvekkilim gazetecidir. Yargı paketi ile propaganda suçuna hüküm getirilmiştir. Söz konusu paylaşımları müvekkilim gazeteci kimliği ile bilgilendirme amaçlı yapmıştır” dedi.
Sonrasında mahkeme heyeti, kararını açıklamak üzere ara verdi.
Verilen kararda, mahkeme heyeti Güneş için “silahlı terör örgütü üyesi olmak” suçunun unsurları oluşmadığını belirterek, bu suçtan beraatine hükmetti.
“Terör örgütü propagandası yapmak” yönünden ise 3 yıl 1 ay 15 gün hapis cezasına çarptırıldı.
Adliye girişinde gazeteciler ve yurttaşlar X-Ray cihazından geçirildi. Duruşma öncesi avukatlar ve gazeteciler duruşma salonunun önünde bekledi. Her hangi bir bariyer konulmadı. 13:00’de başlaması beklenen duruşma, 14:00’de başladı.
Mahkeme Salonu Koşulları
Duruşma salonunda sanık ve avukatları için yer ayrılmıştı. Aynı şekilde izleyici ve gazeteciler için 10 kişilik yer ayrılmıştı. SEGBİS için iki ayrı TV ekranı kuruluydu. Salon küçük bir salondu.
Duruşmayı Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) izledi.
Duruşmada olağanüstü bir durum yaşanmadı.
Berzan Güneş - “Propaganda of Terrorist Organization in Successive Intervals Through Media” Trial (Minutes of the Hearing)
Berzan Güneş - “Propaganda of Terrorist Organization in Successive Intervals Through Media” Trial (Indictment)
Berzan Güneş - “Propaganda of Terrorist Organization in Successive Intervals Through Media” Trial 18. Standing (Minutes of the Hearing)
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