Update: Court accepts indictment against Hanifi Barış

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Front Line Defenders

On 23 July 2018, İstanbul’s 29th High Criminal Court accepted the indictment against detained lawyer and academic Hanifi Barış and ordered his continued detention. He was arrested for posts he made on social media on 4 July 2018 and is charged with creating “terrorist propaganda”. He has been kept in solitary confinement for approximately 10 days. His first hearing is scheduled for 18 September 2018.

Hanifi Barış is a lawyer and academic, who has also worked on human rights. He is a member of Academics for Peace, a group which has condemned state violence against Kurdish groups and the Turkish State’s ongoing violation of its own laws and international treaties resulting in numerous human rights violations. He also signed the 2016 peace petition “We will not be a party to this crime!”. The human rights defender drew public attention for representing a famous conscientious objector who was sentenced to prison, and defended the client's right to represent himself in Kurdish, which was refused by the court.

On 23 July 2018, İstanbul’s 29th High Criminal Court accepted the indictment against Hanifi Barış and confirmed his detention. The Court based its decision on an assessment of digital materials supposedly confiscated during an alleged search of his residence and belongings, however no such search ever took place.

In mid-July, Hanifi Barış submitted a petition requesting his transfer to another dormitory. He was informed that he would be kept in another cell until a final decision on his transfer was made. Since then, he has been kept in solitary confinement and has only been permitted to go to the open air facilities of the prison for one hour each day. Before being moved to his new cell, he was permitted 12 hours of outdoor activity a day.

On 4 July, Hanifi Barış was arrested by the 10th Criminal Judgeship of Peace. During his interrogation at the Prosecutor's Office, he was accused of creating “terrorist propaganda” and questioned about his social media posts, which shared news articles and commentaries from international and local media sources. The human rights defender did not add any of his own commentary to the posts.

Front Line Defenders expresses its concern regarding the arrest of and charges against Hanifi Barış and believe they are a result of exercising his fundamental right to freedom of expression on social media in the defence of human rights.