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Two academics from Boğaziçi University and one academic from Marmara University, who have been charged with "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" for having signed the declaration "We will not be a party to this crime" prepared by the Academics for Peace, had their first hearings today (March 29) at 37th and 24th Heavy Penal Courts.
In the hearing held at 37th Heavy Penal Court, Hülya Dinçer, a research assistant who has been discharged from Marmara University, could not attend the hearing on the ground that she was abroad.
As for the hearings held at 24th Heavy Penal Court, they were attended by Asst. Prof. Dr. Eyüp Volkan Çidam and Dr. N.İ. from the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Boğaziçi University.
During the hearing of Çidam, the presiding judge Hulusi Pur told Çidam, "You cannot bargain with the court. Will you* make defence or not?" The attorney of Çidam, Meriç Eyüboğlu responded to this statement by saying, "You address my client with (informal) you, where did that come from?"
The hearing of Dinçer has been adjourned to October 16 while the hearings of Çidam and N.İ. have been adjourned to June 12. Both court boards ruled that a detention warrant shall be issued for Dinçer and N.İ. in case they do not attend the next hearing.
As for the requests that the defendants shall be immediately acquitted and that the court files of four academics, whose lawsuits have been continuing at 13th Heavy Penal Court, shall be joint with the court files of other academics after they are reviewed, they were unanimously rejected by 24th Heavy Penal Court.
The hearings against signatory academics started on December 5, 2017. As of March 29, 170 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.
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 29, 170 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.
*Turkish has two versions of the pronoun "you", one plural (siz), which is also the formal way of addressing, and one singular (sen). In this sentence, the presiding judge switched to the singular you, which is always informal. (TP/SD)
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