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Hanifi Barış Arrested

Status: 
Facing criminal investigation
About the Situation

On 12 February 2019, Istanbul’s 29th High Criminal Court sentenced Hanifi Barış to 1 year and 8 months in prison on the charge of “terrorist propaganda.” His sentence was suspended and he will not be given a criminal record provided that he is not convicted of another crime within the next five years. The human rights defender remains under a travel ban.

On 13 December 2018, the second hearing of Hanifi Barış was held at the Istanbul’s 29th High Criminal Court. He is facing charges of creating “terrorist propaganda” over his social media posts. The Court lifted the requirement on Hanifi Barış to regularly present himself to the authorities, but the travel ban on the human rights defender was not lifted. The criminal proceedings remain ongoing and the next hearing will be held on 12 February 2019 at 3 p.m.

About Hanifi Barış

Hanifi BarışHanifi Barış is a lawyer and academic, who has also worked on human rights. He is a member of Academics for Peace and 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. He also defended his client's right to represent himself in Kurdish, which was refused by the court. Hanifi Barış was practising law as a private attorney in Turkey prior to his arrest.

15 February 2019
Hanifi Barış receives 20 month suspended prison sentence

On 12 February 2019, Istanbul’s 29th High Criminal Court sentenced Hanifi Barış to 1 year and 8 months in prison on the charge of “terrorist propaganda.” His sentence was suspended and he will not be given a criminal record provided that he is not convicted of another crime within the next five years. The human rights defender remains under a travel ban.

Hanifi Barış is a lawyer, academic and a member of Academics for Peace who signed the 2016 peace petition “We will not be a party to this crime!”. He was arrested on 4 July 2018. During his interrogation at the Prosecutor's Office, he was accused of creating “terrorist propaganda” and questioned about his social media posts, which consisted of news articles and commentaries from international and local media sources that he had shared. The human rights defender had not commented on the contents of the links. On 23 July 2018, Istanbul’s 29th High Criminal Court accepted the indictment against Hanifi Barış on the same charges and confirmed his detention. After being held in pre-trial detention for more than two months, he was released on 18 September 2018.

On 12 December 2018, the human rights defender gave a statement to the Prosecutor’s Office in relation to another investigation, which had been opened into whether he insulted the Turkish president in the same social media posts. The Prosecutor is yet to make a decision on the outcome of the investigation.

Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the suspended sentence handed down to Hanifi Barış and expresses its concern at the ongoing judicial harassment of human rights defenders in Turkey, particularly by means of suspended sentences. Front Line Defenders believes that suspended sentences are being consistently used to intimidate human rights defenders into discontinuing their work in defence of human rights. Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Turkey to immediately stop the judicial harassment of all human rights defenders in Turkey.

18 December 2018
Judicial harassment of Hanifi Barış continues

On 13 December 2018, the second hearing of Hanifi Barış was held at the Istanbul’s 29th High Criminal Court. He is facing charges of creating “terrorist propaganda” over his social media posts. The Court lifted the requirement on Hanifi Barış to regularly present himself to the authorities, but the travel ban on the human rights defender was not lifted. The criminal proceedings remain ongoing and the next hearing will be held on 12 February 2019 at 3 p.m.

On 12 December 2018, the human rights defender also gave his statement at the Prosecutor’s Office in relation to another investigation opened on whether he insulted the Turkish president in the same social media posts. The prosecutor will make a decision on the outcome of the investigation after reviewing his case file and statement.

On 4 July, Hanifi Barış was arrested by the 10th Criminal Peace Judge. During his interrogation at the Prosecutor's Office, he was accused of creating “terrorist propaganda” and questioned about his social media posts, which consisted of shared news articles and commentaries from international and local media sources. The human rights defender had not commented on the contents of the links. On 23 July 2018, Istanbul’s 29th High Criminal Court accepted the indictment against Hanifi Barış on the same charges and confirmed his detention. He was released on 18 September 2018 after being held in pre-trial detention for over two months.

15 November 2018
Hanifi Barış facing criminal investigation for insulting the Turkish President

On 6 November 2018, academic and lawyer Hanifi Barış was notified by the Prosecutor’s Office in Bakırköy that an investigation was opened on whether he insulted the Turkish president through his social media posts. He has been summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office to give his statement between 26-28 November 2018 and may be detained following his statement. There is an ongoing investigation against the human rights defender regarding charges of creating “terrorist propaganda” for the same social media posts.

Hanifi Barış is a lawyer and academic, who has also worked on human rights, and has defended the right of his clients to represent themselves in the Kurdish language. He is a member of Academics for Peace, a group which has condemned state violence in southeastern Turkey and signed the 2016 peace petition “We will not be a party to this crime!”.

On 4 July, Hanifi Barış was arrested by the 10th Criminal Peace Judge. During his interrogation at the Prosecutor's Office, he was accused of creating “terrorist propaganda” and questioned about his social media posts, which consisted of shared news articles and commentaries from international and local media sources. The human rights defender had not commented on the contents of the links. On 23 July 2018, Istanbul’s 29th High Criminal Court accepted the indictment against Hanifi Barış on the same charges and confirmed his detention. He was released on 18 September 2018 after being held in pre-trial detention for over two months.

Front Line Defenders expresses its concern regarding the criminal investigation against Hanifi Barış and believes it is a result of exercising his fundamental right to freedom of expression on social media in the defence of human rights.

19 September 2018
Hanifi Barış released and banned from travel

Detained academic and lawyer Hanifi Barış was released following his first hearing on 18 September 2018. The human rights defender faces charges of creating “terrorist propaganda” for posts he published on social media. The criminal proceedings remain ongoing and a travel ban was issued against him, which his lawyer will appeal. His next hearing is scheduled for 13 December 2018.

Hanifi Barış is a member of Academics for Peace, a group which has condemned state violence in Southeastern Turkey and signed the 2016 peace petition “We will not be a party to this crime!”.

On 4 July, Hanifi Barış was arrested by the 10th Criminal Peace Judge. During his interrogation at the Prosecutor's Office, he was accused of creating “terrorist propaganda” and questioned about his social media posts, which consisted of shared news articles and commentaries from international and local media sources. The human rights defender had not commented on the contents of the links. On 23 July 2018, Istanbul’s 29th High Criminal Court accepted the indictment against Hanifi Barış on the same charges and confirmed his detention. He was held in pre-trial detention for over two months.

27 July 2018
Court accepts indictment against Hanifi Barış

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.

13 July 2018
Lawyer and academic Hanifi Barış arrested for social media posts

On 4 July 2018, lawyer and academic Hanifi Barış was arrested for posts he made on social media. During his interrogation, he was accused of creating “terrorist propaganda” by sharing news articles, despite the fact that he had not added any of his own commentary. His lawyer appealed the decision and requested his release, however his appeal was denied, first by the 10th Criminal Judgeship of Peace on 10 July and then by the 11th Criminal Judgeship of Peace on 12 July.

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On 4 July, Hanifi Barış received a call from police, inviting him to the police station to give a statement on his social media posts. After going to the police station, he was referred to the Prosecutor's Office, and then to the court upon the Prosecutor's request for his arrest. Hanifi Barış was arrested on the same day by the 10th Criminal Judgeship of Peace. Although he went to the police station voluntarily, the judge stated in the decision that he was arrested as it was suspected that he may abscond. Hanifi Barış was first brought to Metris Prison and then to Silivri Closed Prison No. 5. His lawyer appealed the decision and requested his release, however his appeal was denied, first by the 10th Criminal Judgeship of Peace on 10 July and then by the 11th Criminal Judgeship of Peace on 12 July.

During his interrogation at the Prosecutor's Office, Hanifi Barış 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 on the posts. Without referring to the actual content of the posts, the accusations against him were based on the article’s titles, and photos that appeared on the covers.

Front Line Defenders expresses its concern regarding the arrest of and accusations against Hanifi Barış, which have been justified on the sole basis of his social media posts in the absence of any concrete evidence against him.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Turkey to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release Hanifi Barış and drop all charges against him, as it is believed that he is being held solely as a result of exercising his fundamental rights to freedom of expression guaranteed under domestic and international law;

2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Turkey are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.