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Trials of academics, who have been charged with "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" for having signed the declaration entitled "We will not be a party to this crime" prepared by the Academics for Peace, continued at the 36th, 34th and 14th Heavy Penal Courts today (April 19).
Three hearings were held at the 14th Heavy Penal Court in İstanbul Courthouse. Assoc. Prof. Z.Y., PhD student Burcu Kaya and Prof. Dr. İsmail Kuban Altınel from Boğaziçi University had their first hearings.
During his statement of defence, Assoc. Prof. Z.Y. stated that he does not think that the declaration he signed supports any terrorist organization. Upon the question of the Presiding Judge as to why he did not sign any declarations when terrorist attacks were carried out, Z.Y. answered, "If I had come across a declaration against the victimization of people, I would have signed it before. I am against all forms of terror and violence."
While Burcu Kaya stated that she will present her statement of defence after the indictment is submitted to her, İsmal Kuban Altınel said that he did not have sufficient time to prepare his statement of defence due to his academic work. The attorney of the two academics requested immediate acquittal and cases be combined.
Next hearings of the three academics will be held on June 28, 2018.
The court board consisted of the Presiding Judge Atilla Öztürk, Members İrfan Şancı and Hasan Aydın, Public Prosecutor Ercan Gümüş.
The hearings against signatory academics started on December 5, 2017. As of April 19, 191 academics had their first hearings. 12 of these academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison and all of the sentences were suspended, except for that of Prof. Dr. Zübeyde Füsun Üstel from Galatasaray University.
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 April 19, 191 academics had their first hearings. 12 of these academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison and all of the sentences were suspended, except for that of Prof. Dr. Zübeyde Füsun Üstel from Galatasaray University. (EÜ/BK/SD)
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