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Trial of ‘insulting’ Turkish Cypriot journalist postponed again

Turkish Cypriot journalist Ali Kismir
Turkish Cypriot journalist Ali Kismir

The trial of Turkish Cypriot journalist Ali Kismir, who faces ten years in prison for “insulting” the Turkish Cypriot armed forces, was postponed for the second time in court on Friday.

The trial was initially scheduled to begin on October 6, but was pushed back three weeks, before on Friday being postponed for another four weeks until November 27.

The postponement came after Kismir’s lawyer, Hasan Esendagli, requested to meet with the north’s chief public prosecutor regarding the case.

Judge Jale Dizdarli Erguden granted Esendagli’s request, and as a result Kismir was once again released on a 30,000TL (€1,008) bail.

Speaking after the conclusion of the hearing Esendagli said the case had been brought before the northern Nicosia District Court as part of “initial investigations”, while the chief public prosecutor’s office would then move to transfer the case to the High Criminal Court.

He demanded that the case “not be taken forward” and said the chief public prosecutor’s office should “re-evaluate the matter”.

However, he conceded that “the chief public prosecutor’s office has declared it will insist on bringing this case before the court”.

He added that the court had issued the four-week delay to give time for negotiations between the prosecution and the defence to be carried out.

Should the case go ahead as planned on November 27, “witnesses will be heard according to a schedule devised by the court,” he said.

Kismir stands accused of “insulting and defaming the morality of the TRNC Security forces command,” an accusation which dates to a post he wrote on Facebook in August 2020.

In the post, he likened the headquarters of the ‘TRNC Security forces command’ to a “brothel” after it had allegedly been visited by representatives of Ersin Tatar in the run-up to that October’s Turkish Cypriot leadership election.

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