Hikmet Tunç

Started journalism at Dicle News Agency (DİHA) in 2014.

DİHA was shut down by a Decree-Law (KHK) within the scope of the State of Emergency (OHAL) declared in the aftermath of the attempted military coup on July 15th, 2016. During the State of Emergency, numerous press outlets were shut down by these Decree-Laws passed by the government, without the parliament’s approval.

After DİHA was shut down, she started working as a judicial reporter at JinNews Women’s Agency’s. She is still Van correspondent of the Agency.

She is being tried for making news of the “corruption allegations” regarding the trustees, appointed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the Mayorship of Muradiye Province of Muş

During the State of Emergency, the Government had taken over the control of mayorships, governorships and district governorships by “appointing trustees”. These appointments continued after the State of Emergency.

She was accused of “publicly insulting a public official due to the performance of his public duty”. She was requested to be sentenced to, from one year two months to two years four months of imprisonment.

She is released pending trial.

Hikmet Tunç - “Publicy Insulting the Public Official” Trial

Van Muradiye Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against JinNews reporter Hikmet Tunç for May 13, 2019 article with the title “Muradiye waterfalls, once made present for 4 million 500 thousand TL’s, left to its fate”.

The investigation was launched after the complaint of bureaucrat Harun Yücel, the then appointed trustee of Muradiye Mayorship. Yücel claimed that the news had no base.

According to the indictment, Tunç, in the statement she gave during the investigation, said as a journalist of the public she made the news after Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) report about the allegations that said “the trustees sold the waterfalls”. Tune said she attained the information after her interview with the alderman.

The indictment against Tunç was completed on April 2, 2020.

The indictment against JinNews Women’s Agency reporter Hikmet Tunç was completed by Muradiye Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on April 2, 2020.

The indictment stated that the investigation against Tunç was launched after Harun Yücel’s official complaint, who was the district governor in the meantime, about the article titled “Muradiye waterfalls, once made present for 4 million 500 thousand TL’s, left to its fate” was published.

Tunç’s article had used the following phrases:

“Scandals were revealed in the report, prepared by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), after they took the municipality from the trustees at the local elections on March 31, following the inspections made at the waterfall. Restoration material was piled up at the entrance of the waterfall, and the companies had disappeared without finishing the project. According to the information stated in the report, Muradiye Waterfall landscaping and recreation area construction work negotiated tendering was held on August 1, 2018.“

According to the indictment, Yücel in his denunciation, claimed that Tunç and an alderman “had insulted him with the allegation of corruption”.

District governor and Muradiye Mayorship “Trustee” Harun Yücel was the “complainant” of the indictment.

The indictment claimed that Tunç “had made statements that she claimed corruption without any evidence that is based on facts and no reliable evidence is presented, the limits of freedom of expression were severely violated”.

The indictment accused Tunç of “publicly insulting a public official due to the performance of his public duty” according to the article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code. Tunç was requested to be sentenced to, from one year two months to two years four months of imprisonment. Tunç was also requested to be “bereaved of specific rights” according to the article 53 Turkish Penal Code.

The indictment against Tunç was approved by Van Muradiye Criminal Court of First Instance.

The trial against Hikmet Tunç, a reporter with the women’s news agency JinNews, was scheduled to begin with the first hearing on September 3rd, 2020 at Van 3. Criminal Court of First Instance.

However, one day before the hearing on October 20th, 2020, the court issued an interim verdict, stating that the legal proceedings will no longer continue in the form of face-to-face hearings. The court opted for the so-called “simple trial procedure”, and for the first time the said procedure was employed for a journalist standing trial.

The “simple trial procedure” was added to the judiciary system with the legal amendment generally known as the 1. Judiciary Reform Package, on October 24th, 2019. Accordingly, the legal proceedings concerning certain charges can be conducted on the basis of the case file, without holding a hearing.

With this interim verdict, the court asked Tunç and her lawyer to submit their defense statement and evidence in writing, in line with the “simple trial procedure”. It was stated that even if no written defense is submitted, the court can reach a verdict without holding a hearing. It was further indicated that a possible prison sentence would be reduced by one fourth as per the “simple trial procedure”. Accordingly, no hearing was held.

Hikmet Tunç and her lawyer accepted the “simple trial procedure”. Accordingly, once the shortcomings in the case file are remedied, the trial will continue and a verdict will be reached without hearings.

1. Standing - Oct. 21, 2020

Gazeteci Hikmet Tunç hakkındaki yargılamanın ilk duruşması 21 Ekim 2020 tarihinde görülecekti.

Ancak, mahkeme; duruşmadan bir gün önce, 20 Ekim 2020’de duruşmasız bir ara karar verdi. Mahkeme, ara kararıyla; yargılamanın yüz yüze ve duruşmalı olarak sürdürülmesinden vazgeçti. Yargılamanın “basit yargılama usulü” ile devam etmesine karar verildi. Böylece ilk kez bir gazeteci hakkında “basit yargılama usulünün” işletilmesine karar verilmiş oldu.

“Basit yargılama usulü” ile ilgili düzenlene, kamuoyunda 1. Yargı Reformu Paketi olarak bilinen yasal düzenleme ile birlikte 24 Ekim 2019 tarihinde yürürlüğe girdi. Yeni usule göre, bazı suçlamalar karşısında yürütülen yargılamanın, duruşma açılmadan dosya üzerinden yürütülmesinin önü açıldı.

Mahkeme, verdiği ara karar ile birlikte, “basit yargılama usulüne” uygun olarak, Tunç ve avukatından savunma ve delillerini yazılı olarak sunmasını istedi. Kararda, yazılı savunma verilmese bile mahkemenin; duruşma yapmadan karar verebileceği belirtildi. Olası bir mahkumiyet kararının da cezanın, yine “basit yargılama” kurallarına göre, dörtte bir oranında indirileceği ifade edildi.

Ara karar gereği, duruşma görülmedi.

Hikmet Tunç ve avukatı, mahkemenin “basit yargılama usulü” teklifini kabul etti.

Mahkeme, eksikler tamamlandığında, dosyanın; duruşmasız olarak ele alınmasına ve karar verilmesine hükmetti.

Mahkeme, duruşmadan bir gün önce “basit yargılama usulünün” işletilmesine karar verdiğinden, duruşma görülmedi. Bu nedenle, mahkeme salonu koşulları ve duruşmanın geneline ilişkin gözlem yapılamadı.

Hikmet Tunç - “Publicy Insulting the Public Official” Trial (Ara Karar)

Hikmet Tunç - “Publicy Insulting the Public Official” Trial (Indictment)

Contact: pressinarrest@gmail.com

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