On 3 September 2019, ARTICLE 19 submitted an expert opinion in the case of journalist Isminaz Temel in Turkey. Temel is charged with membership of a terrorist organisation, for which, if convicted, she faces between 10 to 15 years in prison. During her hearing before the Istanbul 27th High Criminal Court,Temel’s lawyer asked for the travel ban imposed on her to be lifted and for her acquittal. The case was adjourned to 26November 2019.
In its analysis of the case, ARTICLE 19 believes that the prosecution relies on evidence that constitutes solely acts of expression, some of which were made in Temel’s work as a journalist and some could be considered political speech linked to her role within a legal and political organisation. Furthermore, ARTICLE 19 considers that Temel’s criminal prosecution is based on a legal provision that lacks the criterion of foreseeability, therefore constituting an interference that is not prescribed by law according to the European Convention on Human Rights. Finally, ARTICLE 19 submitted that the criminal prosecution of Temel violates her right to freedom of expression.
Isminaz Temel is a reporter and editor for the socialist Etkin News Agency (‘ETHA’). Two indictments issued against Temel were later merged into one case. In reference to the first indictment, the prosecutor accused Temel of being in charge of the Socialist Women’s Assembly (SKM), which they described as linked to the “terrorist organisation: Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP)”. They also described ETHA as MLKP’s “media organ”, accusing the organisation of “propaganda for the terrorist organisation MLKP”. Temel was initially arrested on 25 October 2017 as part of an operation launched into the members of ESP (The Socialist Party of the Oppressed) and EHB (The Law Office of the Oppressed). She was laterreleased in April 2019.
A second indictment was issued charging Temel with promoting propaganda in support of a terrorist organisation: the publisher of a book entitled ‘the Immortal Song of the Immortal Woman’. According to the prosecution, the book references the structure of the MLKP and other terrorist activities.
ARTICLE 19 will continue monitoring the developments of this case in next hearings.