'It is a crime to be a journalist' case against MA editor

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  • 15:10 22 September 2023
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ANKARA - 41 pages of the 44-page indictment of detained journalist Sedat Yılmaz consisted of "KCK and secret witness" statements. Yılmaz's trips, hotel stays, phone calls, following news pages, depositing money into his account and not depositing money into his account were also considered crimes.
Upon completion of the investigation initiated against 49 people, 5 of whom were detained, including Mezopotamya Agency (MA) editor Sedat Yılmaz, the indictment prepared on July 18 and submitted to the Ankara 28th High Criminal Court was not accepted by the court and was announced on July 27. It was also returned to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office.
In its extradition justification, the court stated that although there was no legal or actual connection between those detained or arrested in the context of the investigation, the investigation was opened and carried out collectively, and that this situation would cause many difficulties in the prosecution process, and requested that the indictment prepared collectively should be prepared according to the person and the allegation.
Although the prosecutor's office objected to this situation, the court rejected the objection. The prosecutor's office then filed a separate indictment against journalist Sedat Yılmaz on September 6, on the grounds of "being a member of an organization" and "establishing and managing an organization".
The prepared indictment was presented to the same court. However, the 28th High Criminal Court stated that the allegations in the indictment were made in Amed, therefore the indictment should be sent to the Diyarbakır High Criminal Court, and ruled that it made a decision of rejection of venue and sent the indictment to Diyarbakır on September 21.
HTS records of Yılmaz's phone number were also included in the indictment. Attempts were made to make Yılmaz's meetings with his sister Filiz Yılmaz, the journalists he worked with Dicle Müftüoğlu, journalist Mehmet Ali Ertaş, MA editor Özgür Paksoy and many politicians a subject of accusation. While the content of the conversations was not included in the indictment, it was stated that Yılmaz had 2 thousand 176 call-received information. Although all the names in the indictment live in Amed, it was claimed that all of their phones were giving signals from a common base, and this situation was also made the subject of accusation.
In the indictment, it was noted that Yılmaz's phone signal was used in Pîrsûs district of Rîha on September 20, 2014, and that they tried to present it as a crime. Yılmaz's visit there was attributed to PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan's mobilization call to the Kurdish people against ISIS and subsequent calls. It was claimed that Yılmaz went to the border for these calls and to support the YPG. However, any actions or events in which Yılmaz participated were not included. The hotels where Yılmaz stayed were also considered crimes. Although it was claimed that people registered with the "organization" were also staying at the hotels where Yılmaz stayed, the names and surnames of these people and what kind of relationship they had with the organization were not included. In addition, the room in which Yılmaz stayed and the fact that the rooms of these people who were tried to be criminalized were next to each other or close to each other were also tried to be made a subject of accusation. However, it was noteworthy that no data was included regarding Yılmaz's room number and the room numbers of the others or whether they had any contact with each other.
MA / Mehmet Aslan

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