Court that acquitted in Tahir Elçi murder trial to try Diyarbakır Bar Association officials

Court that acquitted in Tahir Elçi murder trial to try Diyarbakır Bar Association officials


DIYARBAKIR (July 9, 2024) — The Diyarbakır 10th High Criminal Court, which acquitted three police officers in the Tahir Elçi murder case, will now preside over the trial of Diyarbakır Bar Association officials charged under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. The first hearing is set for October 18.

The investigation into the Bar Association officials was initiated following a statement titled "Confrontation and Reconciliation Should Start from April 24, 1915," published on their website on April 24, 2022, marking the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The statement allegedly contained expressions exceeding the bounds of criticism.

With the Ministry of Justice's authorization, the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office prepared an indictment against Bar Association President Nahit Eren and 10 board members for "publicly denigrating the Turkish Nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, the Government of the Republic of Turkey, and the judicial bodies of the state" under Article 301.

Due to the legal requirement that trials for alleged crimes committed by lawyers in the course of their duties be held in the province closest to their residence, the investigation file was sent to Batman. The Batman Chief Public Prosecutor's Office prepared an indictment, which the Batman 1st High Criminal Court ruled warranted a trial under Article 301, subsequently transferring the case back to Diyarbakır.

The Diyarbakır 10th High Criminal Court, which accepted the indictment, scheduled the first hearing for October 18, 2024. Summons for the hearing were sent to the Bar Association officials, and all relevant documents were forwarded to the Diyarbakır Bar Association.

Protests and previous acquittals

The Diyarbakır 10th High Criminal Court previously acquitted police officers Sinan Tabur, Mesut Sevgi, and Fuat Tan in the case of Tahir Elçi, the former head of the Diyarbakır Bar Association, who was killed in Sur, Diyarbakır, on November 28, 2015. The officers were charged with "causing death by conscious negligence," while fugitive defendant Uğur Yakışır was charged with "causing death with probable intent." During the trial, the case against Yakışır was separated. On June 12, 2024, the court acquitted the three police officers, leading Elçi's family lawyers to leave the courtroom in protest.

The first hearing for the case opened by the Diyarbakır 2nd High Criminal Court is set for November 28, 2024, the anniversary of Elçi's death. This case is also related to the same incident.

Evaluation of court decisions and trial timing

The decision to schedule the trial against Diyarbakır Bar Association officials on the anniversary of Tahir Elçi's death, as well as assigning the case to the same court that acquitted the police officers in Elçi's murder case, can be seen as highly contentious. It raises concerns about impartiality and the potential for perceived judicial bias. This timing and court assignment may appear to many as insensitive or potentially indicative of underlying issues within the judicial process, sparking further scrutiny and debate about the fairness of the legal proceedings in Turkey.


Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) haber alma hakkı, ifade özgürlüğü ve basın özgürlüğü alanlarında faaliyet yürüten bir sivil toplum kuruluşudur. Derneğimiz başta gazeteciler olmak üzere mesleki faaliyetleri sebebiyle yargılanan kişilere hukuki destek vermektedir.