Legal proceedings are ongoing for six Turkish journalists being tried in a case involving their reporting on emails belonging to current Finance Minister and then-Energy Minister Berat Albayrak that were leaked by the computer hacking group Redhack, according to a report by the Media and Law Studies Association (MSLA) on Tuesday.
Journalists Derya Okatan, Mahir Kanaat, Tunca Öğreten, Eray Sargın, Ömer Çelik and Metin Yoksu are being charged with “conducting propaganda for an illegal organization” and “membership in an illegal organization” among other charges. Öğreten and Kanaat spent nearly a year behind bars before being released pending trial in late 2017.
Albayrak, the current Minister of Finance, is the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and is known to be one of his closest allies.
“We have been victimized for three years. Because of a story we reported our homes were raided. It was said that I was a member of the DHKP/C (a banned leftist militant group) and was arrested. It was later determined that I was not a member of this organization and this was removed from my indictment. Instead, they added charges of assisting a legal organization. I have no doubt I am innocent,” said Öğreten, adding that he has not been able to leave the country for three years. Öğreten has also still not been able to recover possession of his seized telephone and computers from the police.
The journalists remain under judicial control, and their next hearing is scheduled for February 6, 2020. Their lawyers have emphasized that the judicial control conditions have been very harsh on the journalists and that no basis whatsoever remains for them to be tried.