21 March 2017

Dear friends and colleagues,

Arrested on June 20, 2016 for defending freedom of press and expression in solidarity with Ozgur Gundem Daily, Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı (HRFT President), Erol Önderoğlu (Reporters without Borders Turkey Representative), and Ahmet Nesin (Journalist-Writer) had been released ten days after their arrest.

The third hearing of the case in the trial of the three human rights defenders and journalists on charges of “provoking commission of an offence”, “praising the offence and the offenders” and “making propaganda of terrorist organisation through means of press”, was held today (March 21st, 2017) at the 13th Çağlayan Heavy Penal Court.

The hearing was observed by representatives of several human rights organizations from throughout the world, including  Prof. Dr. MD. Christian Pross, international observer on behalf of the German Medical Association; Angelika Claussen, Regional Vice President of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War-Europe; Safya Akorri from International Federation for Human Rights; Britta Jenkins, former staff of the Berlin Treatment Center for Torture Victims; Leif Hinrichsen from Jiyan Foundation in the Kurdistan Regional Government; Barbara Neppert from Amnesty International Germany, Sara Kokemüller from Physicians Group of Amnesty International Germany and Alper Öktem from International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War-Germany.

In this short hearing, the amicus curiae prepared by the ARTICLE 19, an internationally respected NGO defending freedom of expression and information worldwide, was presented to the court. The court postponed the hearing to June 8, 2017 11.45AM, on the grounds of completion of missing documentation.

We thank all our friends and colleagues who provided their support to Fincancı, Önderoğlu, and Nesin, and who stood with us against the judicial harassment of human rights defenders and journalists in Turkey.

We will share the programme concerning the fourth hearing in the upcoming days.

Kind regards,

Metin Bakkalcı

HRFT Secretary General