Hasan Cemal began his journalism career at the weekly Devrim magazine in 1969. After working for Yeni Ortam, Günaydın newspapers and the Anka News Agency, he started to work for the Cumhuriyet newspaper in 1973. He became the Ankara correspondent of the Cumhuriyet newspaper in 1979. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper from 1981 to 1992. He wrote columns in the first page of the Sabah newspaper from 1992 to 1998. He penned articles on domestic and foreign policies six times a week in the Milliyet newspaper. While he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper, the newspaper was awarded with the Sedat Simavi Award and chosen as the “Newspaper of the Year” in 1986. He wrote columns for the Milliyet newspaper until 2013 when the newspaper terminated his contract due to his articles.
Hasan Cemal has been writing for the T24 news website since 2013. He is the founder and president of the Platform for Independent Journalism: P24.
Cemal was prosecuted because of his article titled “From Silvan: They made us get used to the deaths and pains…” [“Silvan’dan: Bizi acılara, ölümlere o kadar alıştırdılar ki…”, published in T24 on Dec. 4, 2017] and charged with “making propaganda for a terrorist organization.” The article was about his observations and interviews with two citizens and the co-mayor of Silvan. The court ruled to fine him.
Hasan Cemal was also prosecuted because of his article series titled “Çekilme Günlüğü” [“The Chronicles of Withdrawal”] which was about the withdrawal of the PKK [the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a Kurdish separatist organization which has been at war with the Turkish state for the past four decades] in 2013. His trial was held on the Istanbul 24th High Criminal Court. Cemal was acquitted on March 31, 2017. However, the Istanbul Regional Courts of Justice’s 2nd Penal Chamber reversed the decision of acquittal on Nov. 10, 2017. Cemal’s prosecution continues.
In addition to these, Cemal was charged with “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” because of an article on PKK leader Fehman Hüseyin, who is known as ‘Bahoz Erdal’ and was sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison. The court’s decision was approved on Nov. 10, 2017. In this case, Cemal was sentenced to 1 year, 6 months and 22 days in prison. Yet, as he was already sentenced to 1 year and 3 months imprisonment for a column he wrote about one of the executives of PKK, Fehmin Hüseyin, his sentence was reduced. He was sentenced to 3 months and 22 days in prison. The sentence was postponed.
Also, Hasan Cemal took part in the Özgür Gündem’s “Co-Editor-in-Chief on Watch” campaign. Hasan Cemal was fined for 6.000 TL for “publishing statements of a terrorist organization” in the Özgür Gündem’s issue of June 14, 2016. The court’s decision was approved on Nov. 10, 2017.
Hasan Cemal wrote his observations and interviews with two citizens and the co-mayor of Silvan in his article titled “From Silvan: They made us get used to the deaths and pains…” [“Silvan’dan: Bizi acılara, ölümlere o kadar alıştırdılar ki…”, published in T24 on Dec. 4, 2017].
A police chief from the Silvan District Police Office informed the Silvan Public Prosecutor, about Hasan Cemal’s interviews. An evaluation report was penned on Dec. 18, 2015, and signed by two police officers from the Silvan District Police Office.
Silvan Public Prosecutor wrote an inquiry record about Hasan Cemal and three people who were interviewed by him. Prosecutor, claimed that three people who were mentioned in the article had committed the crime of “praising an offense or offender” (TPC 215) and he sent the inquiry to the Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The Silvan Public Prosecutor ruled for a lack of jurisdiction regarding Hasan Cemal. The prosecutor claimed that Cemal committed the offense of “praising an offense or offender” (TPC 215), “insulting” (TPC 125), and “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” (TPC 220/7) and he sent the file to the Istanbul Anatolia Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor’s Office wrote an indictment against three people by copying the exact inquiry report of Silvan Public Prosecutor. The Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court accepted the indictment. At the end of the judicial proceeding, two of the defendants were acquitted and one of them was found guilty. The court ruled to defer the announcement of the verdict.
Regarding Hasan Cemal’s file, the Istanbul Anatolia Public Prosecutor’s Office ruled for a lack of jurisdiction, as well. The Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office where Cemal’s file was sent claimed the investigation should continue with the violation of TPC 301 (Degrading Turkish Nation, State of Turkish Republic, the Organs and Institutions of the State) and asked for permission to do so from the Ministry of Justice. However, the Ministry sent the file back to the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office and demanded further explanation. The Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office ruled for a lack of jurisdiction regarding Hasan Cemal on June 14, 2016, and then sent the file to the Silvan Public Prosecutor’s Office.
After both of the prosecutor’s offices ruled for a lack of jurisdiction, the Bakırköy 1st High Criminal Court “indicated the appropriate court” as the Silvan Public Prosecutor’s Office. Based on the Silvan Public Prosecutor’s Office’s inquiry report, the Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor’s Office wrote an indictment against Hasan Cemal and accused him of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” (Turkish Anti-Terror Law 7/2).
The Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court ruled for a lack of jurisdiction and sent the file to the indicated appropriate Istanbul High Criminal Court.
The indictment which was written by Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor on June 28, 2018, consisted of two pages.
The indictment claimed “there were expressions which feature propaganda of a terrorist organization,” and “[in the article] the interviews were presented as though there were no terrorist incidents in the district, but the state was oppressing the public.”
In the indictment, Hasan Cemal’s testimony was including, in which he said “he was practicing journalism and journalism is not a crime, his article was in the scope of the freedom of expression and his action aims for a peaceful solution of the Kurdish question.”
The prosecutor recommended punishment for Hasan Cemal with the charge of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization through means of mass media” (Anti Terror Law 7/2, 2nd sentence).
The first hearing of the trial was held on Jan. 3, 2019 in the Istanbul 36th High Criminal Court. In his defense before the court, Hasan Cemal noted that he wrote four books and thousands of articles on the Kurdish question. Cemal said that the article subjected to the prosecution was “defending peace and condemning the deaths,” and “it was within the limits of the freedom of press and expression.” Denying the accusations, Hasan Cemal demanded his acquittal. His demand wasn’t accepted by the court.
The second hearing of the trial was held on April 16, 2019. The presiding prosecutor, explained his opinion on accusations and recommended Hasan Cemal be convicted of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” ( (Anti Terror Law 7/2, 1st sentence).
In the final hearing of the trial, which was held on May 7, 2019, Hasan Cemal and his attorney Fikret İlkiz spoke on the prosecutor’s opinion on accusations. Cemal denied all the accusations one more time and asked for his acquittal.
The court fined Hasan Cemal for 3,260 TL.
Due to Turkish Anti-Terror Law’s Article of 7/2, because the crime was committed through mass media, the 1 year in prison sentence was increased to 1 year and 6 months in prison, the sentence was then increased to 1 year and 10 months in prison, before being reduced to 1 year 6 months and 22 days in prison. The court reducted the1 year and 3 months duration from the total due to there was another prosecution for the same crime in the Istanbul 22nd High Criminal Court. The final 3 months and 22 days in prison sentence converted to 3,360 TL judicial fine.
Savcı bir önceki duruşmadaki mütalaasını tekrarladığını belirtti.
Hasan Cemal savunmasını okudu.
Avukatı Fikret İlkiz söz aldı. Soruşturma sürecinden başlayarak yargılamanın geçirdiği süreçleri özetledi. Yargılamaya konu olan yazının Anayasa, Basın Kanunu ve Avrupa İnsan Hakları Sözleşmesi’nde korunan ifade ve basın özgürlüğü kapsamında olduğunu, Hasan Cemal’in gazetecilik görevini yerine getirdiğini belirterek beraat talep etti.
Mahkeme, Cemal’in; “zincirleme şekilde, basın ve yayın yoluyla terör örgütü propagandası yapmak” suçlamasıyla bir yıl altı ay 22 gün hapis cezasına çarptırılmasına karar verdi. Cemal, hakkındaki başka bir yargılamada, yine “terör örgütü propagandası” suçlamasıyla bir yıl üç ay hapis cezasına çarptırılmıştı. Bu nedenle mahkeme, verdiği ceza kararında indirime gitti. Cemal, üç ay 22 gün hapis cezasına çarptırıldı. Hapis cezası, 3 bin 360 TL para cezasına çevrildi.
Duruşma öncesi salona girişte bir sorun yaşanmadı.
Mahkeme Salonu Koşulları
Mahkeme salonunda seyircilere 30 kişilik yer ayrılmıştı. Salon büyüklüğü yeterliydi. Penceresizdi.
Duruşmayı aralarında Sınır Tanımayan Gazeteciler, Uluslararası Basın Enstitüsü (IPI) ve Article 19’dan temsilciler, meslektaşları takip etti.
Mahkeme başkanı, bir önceki duruşmada kararlaştırıldığı üzere Diyarbakır 4. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesine ve İstanbul Emniyet Müdürlüğü Siber Suçlarla Mücadele Şube Müdürlüğüne yazılan yazılara cevap geldiğini açıkladı.
Diyarbakır 4. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi tarafından gönderilen ve Cemal’in üç yıl önce kaleme aldığı yazıda ismi geçenlerin beraat ettiğine belgeler dosyaya eklendi.
Avukatlar, Cemal’in İstanbul 22. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nde “terör örgütü propagandası yapmak” suçlamasıyla başka bir dosyası bulunduğu ve her iki dosyanın birleştirilerek görülmesinin gerekli olduğuna dikkat çekildi.
Her iki dosyada sanığın terör örgütü propagandasıyla suçlandığı, her iki suçlama tarihi arasında yedi ay bulunduğu belirtildi.
Her iki dosyanın birleştirilmesi gerektiği fakat 22. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesinde görülen dosyanın kesinleşmiş olması nedeniyle dosyaların birlikte görülmesinin hukuki olarak mümkün olmadığı ifade edildi.
Esas hakkında mütalaasını açıklayan duruşma savcısı, Hasan Cemal’in, Terörle Mücadele Kanunu 7/2 maddesi uyarınca “terör örgüt propagandası yapmak” suçlamasıyla cezalandırılmasını istedi.
Savcının esas hakkındaki mütalaasını vermesinin ardından Hasan Cemal’in avukatı Fikret İlkiz, savunma için ek süre talep ettiğini belirtti.
09:20’de başlayan duruşma 09:30’da bitti.
Duruşma esas hakkındaki savunmların hazırlanması için ertelendi.
Yargılamanın, 7 Mayıs 2019 tarihinde görülecek üçüncü duruşma ile devam etmesine karar verildi.
Duruşmanın 09:00’da başlaması bekleniyordu. Salon önünde gazeteci Hasan Cemal, Bağımsız Gazetecilik Platformu (P24) ve Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği’nden gözlemciler bekliyordu. Birkaç dakika sonra avukat Fikret İlkiz de katıldı. İzleyiciler, saat 09.20’de salona alındı.
Mahkeme Salonu Koşulları
Duruşma salonu büyük ve havadardı.
Duruşmayı, Bağımsız Gazetecilik Platformu (P24) ve Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği gözlemcileri takip etti.
Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikası (TGS) başkanı Gökhan Durmuş’un da izlediği duruşmada Hasan Cemal ve avukatı Fikret İlkiz hazır bulundu. Salonda 7-8 kişi vardı.
Duruşma 10 dakika sürdü. Heyetle, sanık ve müdafiisi arasında dikkat çeken bir diyalog olmadı.
Hasan Cemal - “Propaganda of Terrorist Organization” Trial (Minutes of the Hearing)
Hasan Cemal - “Propaganda of Terrorist Organization” Trial (Indictment)
Hasan Cemal - “Propaganda of Terrorist Organization” Trial 2. Standing (Minutes of the Hearing)
Hasan Cemal - “Propaganda of Terrorist Organization” Trial 3. Standing (Minutes of the Hearing)
Hasan Cemal - “Propaganda of Terrorist Organization” Trial 3. Standing (Defense)
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.