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Two academics from Boğaziçi University, who have been charged with "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" for signing the declaration "We will not be a party to this crime" prepared by the Academics for Peace, had their first hearings today (March 28) at 14th Heavy Penal Court in İstanbul Çağlayan Courthouse.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Özlem Beyarslan from the Department of Mathematics at Boğaziçi University did not attend the hearing as she was abroad. Nevim Borçin, a PhD student at the Department of Philosophy at Boğaziçi University appeared before judge.
A large number of academics as well as students of Boğaziçi University were also at the courthouse to watch the hearings.
Both hearings have been adjourned to June 19, 2018. The court board has rejected the immediate acquittal requests. As for the requests that the lawsuits of academics at 14th Heavy Penal Court be joined, the court board has ruled that these requests shall be evaluated after the statements of defence, but shall be rejected at this stage. The board has also ruled that the documents in the court files of four academics, whose lawsuits have been continuing at 13th Heavy Penal Court, shall be requested.
The hearings against signatory academics started on December 5, 2017. As of March 28, 166 people had their first hearings and 30 of them had the second. Three academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison, and the sentences were suspended.
The members of the court board were as follows:
Presiding Judge: Atila Öztürk,
Members: İrfan Şancı, Hasan Aydın,
Prosecutor: Seçkin Yılmaz
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.
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.
As of March 28, 166 people had their first hearings and 30 of them had the second. Three academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison, and the sentences were suspended. (TP/SD)
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