Same Court, Same Request, Different Ruling

Yazar / Referans: 
Beyza Kural, Bianet

Prof. Dr. Neşe Yıldıran, Asst. Prof. Dr. Çağla Diner, Prof. Dr. Melih Kırlıdoğ, Research Assistant Canan Özcan, and Asst. Prof. Dr. Gülçin Coşkun have had their first hearings, and Research Assistant Şükran Çavdar has had her second today. (February 27).

Trials against signatories of Academics for Peace's declaration "We will not be party to this crime" charged with "terrorist organization propaganda" resumed today (February 27) in Çağlayan at Istanbul Courthouse 35th Heavy Penal Court.

Prof. Dr. Neşe Yıldıran (discharged from her position at Işık University – retired), Asst. Prof. Dr. Çağla Diner (Kadir Has University), Prof. Dr. Melih Kırlıdoğ (discharged from his position at Nişantaşı University), Research Assistant Canan Özcan (Arel University), and Asst. Prof. Dr. Gülçin Coşkun (Kemerburgaz University) have had their first hearings, and Research Assistant Şükran Çavdar, among the signatories from Istanbul Technical University, has had her second today. (February 27). Three academics did not attend the hearings.

The panel of judges denied the citation request of the first case filed for the peace declaration held at 13th Heavy Penal Court, a request which they had granted in previous hearings. Following an argument between Neşe Yıldıran's attorney Ömer Kavili and the panel of judges, the attorneys requested to have the judges recused, while the panel kept written proceedings on Kavili.

The court rejected immediate acquittal and consolidation requests and granted defendants extra time for their defenses.

Three hearings of three academics that were to be held today at 34th Heavy Penal Court were not held following news that the presiding judge's bodyguard had killed himself. The hearings will be rescheduled.

Trials against signatory academics began December 5, 2017. By February 27, 133 people have had their first, 30 of these have had their second hearings. Three academics have been given 1 year 3 month prison sentences, which were commuted.

What happened?

On January 10, 2016, 1,128 academics published a declaration entitled "We will not be party to this crime" on behalf of the Academics for Peace initiative. The total number of signatures has reached 2212.

On March 10, 2016, Asst. Prof. Dr. Esra Mungan, Asst. Prof. Dr. Muzaffer Kaya, Assoc. Prof. Dr Kıvanç Ersoy and Asst. Prof. Dr. Meral Camcı read out the press statement at a press conference that was was held on behalf of the Academics for Peace/Istanbul group regarding the developments which had occurred since the declaration was first shared with the public.

The first three of these academics were arrested on the charge of "terrorist propaganda" on March 15, 2016, and the last, Camcı, who was abroad at the time, was arrested on March 31 when she returned to Turkey. The four academics were released on April 22, 2016 upon their first hearing, in which the prosecutor of the trial changed the charges pressed against the academics to the crimes regulated under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (insulting Turkey, the Turkish nation, or Turkish government institutions) and applied for authorization from the Ministry of Justice to hold the trial under the new article.

Another bill of indictment was prepared in October 2017 regarding at least 148 academics who signed the declaration. The academics were charged with "terrorist organization propaganda" under Article 7/2 of the Turkish Anti-Terror Act (#3713) in the bill of indictment prepared by Prosecutor İsmet Bozkurt. The first hearings were held on December 5, 2017. By February 27, 2018, 133 defendants have had their first hearings, and 30 of these have also had their second. Three academics were sentenced to 1 year 3 months in prison; the sentences were commuted.