Journalist Lezgin Akdeniz was born in Diyarbakır in 1992. He was graduated from Ege University, Faculty of Communications, School of Journalism. In 2015 he started working as a correspondent at Dicle News Agency (DİHA) at 2015.
DİHA, was shut down with a decree-law put in motion within the scope of the state of emergency, after the July 15th Coup Attempt. During the state of emergency, numerous press organisations were shut down with the decree-laws passed by the government, without having the laws voted in the parliament.
After the agency was closed he started working at Mesopotamia Agency (MA).
Police raids were made in various cities within the scope of the investigation launched by Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. 121 people were taken into custody. Akdeniz was arrested while following the press release protesting these raids, in Diyarbakır. He was released after being detained for 3 days.
He was tried without arrest for the accusations of “membership of armed terrorist organisation” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation in a successive manner”. The indictment requested his to be sentenced to from 19 years 4 months 15 days to 28 years 1 month 15 days of imprisonmnet.
At the first hearing of the case in Diyarbakır 9th Assize Court, he was acquitted of the “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” accusation. However, based on her social media publications, he was sentenced to 1 year 3 months of imprisonment for “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation”.
Announcement of his sentence was deferred.
183 different addresses were raided by the police in various cities within the scope of the operation called “Democratic Kurdistan Community / Turkey Desk” launched by Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office at November 9th, 2018. Within the scope of the operation 121 of the 151 people who had search and capture warrants against them were taken into custody.
Lezgin Akdeniz was arrested while following the press release protesting these raids as a journalist in Diyarbakır.
He was kept under arrest at the Police Centre in Diyarbakır for 3 days. The accusations were based on the statements of the secret witness called “Ezel”. Following the statement he was sent to the Diyarbakır Courthouse. He was released pending trial.
The indictment was prepared at January 18th, 2019.
9 pages of the 10-page-long indictment were made up of information about “Foundation of KCK, its purpose, its contract, its hierarchy, its organisation model and presidency council members”. 1 page of the indictment was spared for identification of Lezgin Akdeniz and the accusations against the MA reporter.
The statement of the secret suspect “Ezel” was the base of the accusations.
The secret witness claimed that Akdeniz had “Communicated with the members of the organisation, that were in Iraq, through the application called ‘Skype’”.
Social media posts of Akdeniz and the likes she had given to the post from different accounts were considered as “crime factors” too.
News publication made from “Siyasihaber” Facebook page with the title “YPJ announces the freedom of Raqqa: this victory is for the women of the world” was shown as the evidence for the accusations.
It was also the subject of the accusations that she had liked the Facebook page “Vin TV”, which included the footage of PKK members.
He was accused of “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation in a successive manner” with these two social media likes.
The indictment accused that “Akdeniz had committed the crime of membership of an armed terrorist organisation by taking part in the hierarchical structure of the organisation and acting within the KCK branch of the PKK terrorist organisation.”
The prosecutor, claimed that Akdeniz had “committed the crime of making propaganda for a terrorist organisation in a successive manner by liking the footage including members of the terrorist organisation and the piece of fabric that symbolises the organisation on her social media account”.
Lezgin Akdeniz, in the indictment was accused of “terrorist organisation propaganda” according to the article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code. He was requested to be sentenced from 5 years to 10 years of imprisonment. However it was also requested that the sentence was to be increased within the scope of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK). Therefore for the accusation of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”, Akdeniz was requested to be sentenced from 7 years 6 months to 15 years of imprisonment.
Akdeniz was also accused of committing the crime of “terrorist organisation propaganda”, “through press” according to the article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law. He was requested to be sentenced from 1.5 years to 7.5 years of imprisonment. However, it was claimed that, this crime too, was committed “in a successive manner”. It was requested that the sentence was to be increased by from a quarter to three quarters according to the article 43 of the TPC.
Thus in total, Akdeniz was requested to be sentenced from 1 year 10 months 15 days to 13 years 1 month 15 days of imprisonment for committing the crime of “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation in a successive manner through media”.
Akdeniz, with the increases, was requested for a total of from 19 years 4 months 15 days to 28 years 1 month 15 days of imprisonment, for these two accusations in the indictment.
Akdeniz was also requested to be “bereaved of specific rights” according to the article 53 Turkish Penal Code.
The trial agains Lezgin Akdeniz started with the first hearing at Diyarbakır 9th Assize Court at March 27th, 2019.
Akdeniz denied the accusations at the first hearing. Stated that he was a journalist and his social media likes were not made “to make propaganda for a terrorist organisation”.
Akdeniz’s attorney Resul Temur said that the secret witness that made the statement against Akdeniz had made the same accusations against the other journalists that were taken into custody within the scope of the investigation.
Prosecutor, presented his opinion as to the accusations at the first hearing.
The prosecutor requested Akdeniz’s acquittal of the “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” accusation. He stated that this accusation was not based on solid and convincing evidence.
However prosecutor, claimed that Akdeniz had committed the crime of “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” with two social media likes and requested his to be punished for this accusation.
Court board reached a verdict at the first hearing.
As per the prosecutor’s request, acquitted Akdeniz of “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”. However Akdeniz was sentenced to 1 year 3 months of imprisonment for “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” for the likes on his social media account. The announcement of the decision was deferred.
Mezopotamya Ajansı muhabiri Lezgin Akdeniz Diyarbakır’da 9 Ekim 2018’de Diyarbakır Cumhuriyet Başsavcılığınca yürütülen soruşturma kapsamında gözaltına alındı.
Üç gün gözaltında kalan Akdeniz hakkında iddianame hazırladı. İddianame, 18 Ocak 2019 tarihinde, Diyarbakır 9’uncu Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi tarafından kabul edildi.
İddianamede, yalnızca “Ezel” kod adlı gizli tanık beyanına dayanılarak Akdeniz’in “silahlı terör örgütü üyesi olduğu” iddia edildi. Gizli tanık Ezel’in Akdeniz’in Irak’ta bulunan örgüt mensuplarıyla Skype ile görüştüğünü öne sürdüğü ifadesi de iddianamede yer aldı.
Facebook hesabında, başka hesaplardan yapılan paylaşımları beğenmesi de “zincirleme şekild, basın ve yayın yoluyla terör örgütü propagandası” iddiasına gerekçe olarak gösterildi.
Hakkında, toplamda, 28 yıl 1 ay 15 güne kadar hapis cezası istendi.
Akdeniz’in ilk duruşması 27 Mart 2019 günü görüldü.
İlk duruşma olması nedeniyle kimlik bilgilerinin tespitinin ardından iddianame okundu.
Daha sonra savunmasını yapmak üzere Lezgin Akdeniz’e söz verildi.
Akdeniz, hakkındaki gizli tanık beyanlarının doğru olmadığını ve gizli tanığın ifadesinin aksine kendisinin hiçbir zaman yurt dışına çıkmadığını söyledi.
İddianamede yer alan suçlamaları kabul etmediğini de dile getiren Akdeniz beratını istedi.
Avukat Resul Tamur ise gizli tanık beyanının altında herhangi bir imza bulunmadığını ifade ederek, gizli tanığın tüm gazeteciler hakkında aynı beyanda bulunduğunu kaydetti.
Müvekkiline yöneltilen “zincirleme şekilde ve basın yayın yoluyla terör örgütü propagandası” suçlamasına ilişkin ise Temur, Akdeniz’in sosyal medya hesabındaki beğenilerin bu suçu oluşturmadığını söyledi. Akdeniz’in iki suçlamadan da beraatını talep etti.
Savcı, esas hakkında mütalaasında, gazeteci Akdeniz’in “terör örgütü propagandası” suçlamasıyla cezalandırılmasını istedi. Savcı, Akdeniz’in, “silahlı terör örgütü üyesi olmak” suçlamasından beraatını talep etti. Akdeniz, bu suçlamaya ilişkin kesin ve inandırıcı deliller bulunmadığını belirtti.
Duruşmaya ara vermeden kararını açıklayan mahkeme heyeti, gazeteci Lezgin Akdeniz’in “silahlı terör örgütü üyesi olmak” suçlamasından beraatına hükmetti.
Heyet ayrıca Akdeniz’e “terör örgütü propagandası” yaptığı gerekçesiyle 1 yıl 3 ay hapis cezası verdi. Hükmün açıklanmasının geri bırakılmasına karar verildi.
Duruşma Diyarbakır Adliyesi’ndeki 9. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nde görüldü. Duruşma saati 10:20 olarak belirlendi. Ancak avukatı Resul Tamur’un mazeret bildirmesiyle duruşma saat 09:00’da yapıldı.
Tutuksuz yargılanan Lezgin Akdeniz salona avukatı Resul Tamur ile birlikte geldi.
Mahkeme Salonu Koşulları
Duruşmanın görüldüğü mahkeme salonu, Diyarbakır Adliyesi’ndeki standart salonlardan birisiydi. Duruşma salonunun bulunduğu koridorda iki ayrı yere bariyer konulmuştu. Salon havalandırılmış ve temizdi.
Duruşmayı Diyarbakır Barosu’ndan 4 avukat izledi.
Duruşma 5 dakika sürdü. Gergin olduğu gözlenen mahkeme başkanı, Lezgin Akdeniz ve avukatının iki kez sözünü kesti.
Lezgin Akdeniz - “Membership of an Armed Terrorist Organization” and “Propaganda of Terrorist Organization Through Media” Trial (Indictment)