A specially authorized court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır Wednesday adjourned the hearing for journalist and publisher Bedri Adanır's case for Sept. 13 upon the request of his lawyers who intended to avert a possibly guilty verdict against their client before Parliament's General Assembly is set to deliberate on the Third Judicial Reform Package in October.
The court repeatedly denied requests for his release on the grounds he is a member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and was making propaganda on its behalf.
Adanır also stands accused in connection with his publishing of the "Democratic Civilization Manifesto," a three volume compilation of the pleas presented by PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR.) Adanır had published the volumes at his Aram Publishing House in 2009.
Adanır started his carreer in the press at the age of 12 in 1995 when he was involved in the distribution of the Yeni Politika newspaper. He then began working as a reporter for the Özgür Halk magazine in Diyarbakır in 1999. He has remained behind bars since Jan. 8, 2010.
Prosecutor's Office requests aggravated prison terms
The Diyarbakır Sixth Court for Serious Crimes had also merged the writings that appeared on the Hawar magazine with another suit filed in connection with a raid into the magazine.
The Prosecutor once more repeated its legal opinion as to the accusations on Nov. 17, 2011 where he had requested a guilty verdict against Adanır for violating article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law seven times, article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) through articles 314/3 and 220/6-7 of the TCK, the fifth article of the 3713rd Law under the Anti-Terror Law and articles 53, 54, 58/9 and 63rd of the TCK.
The suspect distributed books and publications that made propaganda on behalf of the PKK and Öcalan, acted as their media outlet and committed crimes on their behalf, the prosecutor's legal opinion had said, adding that Adanır had also committed the crime of being a PKK member as he had aided the organization consciously and willfully.
The Diyarbakır Prosecutor's Office thereby requested aggravated prison terms for Adanır in its legal opinion.
The Diyarbakır Sixth Court for Serious Crimes then adjourned the trial for Sept. 13 during the hearing on June 20.
Court also adjourns the trial of Odatv case suspects
Another court also adjourned for Sept. 14 the trial of Odatv case suspects Soner Yalçın, Barış Pehlivan, Barış Terkoğlu and Yalçın Küçük who stand accused of membership in the Ergenekon gang on the grounds that the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) had not yet sent the relevant reports.
Third Judicial Reform Package pending for October
Parliament's postponement of the Third Judicial Reform Package to October has also led to the continued imprisonment of publishers and managing directors such as Adanır, Vedat Kurşun, Ozan Kılınç for months.
The reform package that passed through Parliament's Justice Commission on May 31 stipulated a "conditional amnesty" for "crimes committed through the press" whose penalties do not exceed five years of imprisonment on the condition the offenders do not commit a crime of the same quality for a total of five years.
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç had also issued a statement on June 11 regarding the Fourth Judicial Package the government had started working on in order to put an end to complaints from Turkey in the ECHR pertaining to the freedom of speech.
"This covers issues known to the public and the press as the Fourth Judicial Package. It pertains to the amendment of the TCK and other laws to raise [the country's] standards in the fields of human rights and the freedom of speech so as to avert the verdicts passed by the ECHR against our country. [We] held talks on this matter and presented it to our ministers for their [approval,]" Arınç had said.
Neither the Third Judicial Reform Package nor the fourth one seems likely to be able to solve the problem of journalists on trial for their alleged membership in a terrorist organization, however, and whose numbers are reported to be in excess of 90, since both packages fail to deal with the fundamental problems of the TMK, the TCK and the Law of Criminal Procedure (CMK.)
It also remains to be seen the extent to which a provision in the Third Judicial Reform Package that pertains to the capacity of judges to justify the arrest of suspects on a person by person basis will be able to resolve the situation of journalists behind bars.