Ahead of the first hearing in the trial regarding the documentary "Bakur/Kuzey" (the South), charged with "propagandizing for a terrorist organization", movie makers gathered in front of the Çağlayan Courthouse in İstanbul and chanted "Movies cannot be tried".
As a part of the trial, one of the two directors of the documentary, Çayan Demirel stood trial today (December 28) before İstanbul 23th Assize Court.
The hearing could not be held since the board of judges were on leave and the attorneys representing Demirel requested another date for the hearing. Next hearing will be on February 8, 2018.
Ahead of the hearing, movie makers, the other director of the documentary Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, artists, journalists and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MP Garo Paylan were in front of the courthouse to support Demirel.
The group reading out a press statement underlined that for the first time in Turkey, a movie production was facing heavy penalty.
Documentary was censored
"Bakur/Kuzey" is a 92-minute guerilla-documentary directed by journalist Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, director Çayan Demirel and produced by Ayşe Çetinbaş.
The documentary begins with Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan calling on PKK to withdraw on the Newroz on March 21, 2013.
The documentary was supposed to be played on the 34th İstanbul Film Festival. Yet İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) cancelled the documentary and pointed to a warning notification by the Ministry of Tourism regarding a "registration certificate".
Lawsuit brought 2 years after release
Two years after the documentary was released, a lawsuit was brought against the tow directors of the documentary Ertuğrul Mavioğlu ve Çayan Demirel as well as the murdered journalist and writer Musa Anter's son Dicle Anter, the administrative authority of the Batman Municipality Yılmaz Güney Movie Theater that had showed the documentary.
Mavioğlu, Çayan and Anter were charged with "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" under Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Act.
Batman 2nd Assize Court has accepted the indictment. The next hearing of the trial will be held on January 18, 2018. (EA/DG)
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