* Photograph: Tansu Pişkin, İstanbul, bianet
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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 in İstanbul Çağlayan Courthouse at three different courts today (June 7).
At the 35th Heavy Penal Court, 11 academics from Boğaziçi University, namely Prof. Dr. Rıfat Okçabol, Prof. Dr. Mine Eder, Prof. Dr. Reşit Şahin Canbeyli, Prof. Dr. Berna Kılınç, Dr. Aslı Zeren, Dr. Lecturer Albert Ali Salah, Prof. Dr. Selim Eyüboğlu, Dr. Lecturer Meral Demirel, Dr. Lecturer Ceren Özselçuk, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zeynep Gambetti and academic Can Candan had their first hearings.
At the 32nd Heavy Penal Court, academic G. M.M. from Kadir Has University had his second hearing. At the 27th Heavy Penal Court, academic Tuna Kuyucu from Boğaziçi University had his first hearing.
Apart from several academics, the İstanbul MP candidate of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Ahmet Şık also attended the hearings.
At the 11 hearings held at the 35th Heavy Penal Court, the court board rejected the requests that the academics be immediately acquitted and that the case files of the academics be combined with the files of the cases of four other academics at the 13th Heavy Penal Court. The court board presided by Adem Aygün stated that they would pronounce their judgements as to the requests that the files of the cases at their court be combined after they hear the statements of defence to be presented by the defendants.
The court board of the 27th Heavy Penal Court also rejected the requests that the academics be immediately acquitted and that the case files of the academics be combined. The board also ruled that they would evaluate the request that the trial be held as per the Article No. 301 of the Turkish Penal Code at the next hearing.
At the 32nd Heavy Penal Court, M. did not attend the hearing on the ground that he was abroad. His next hearing will be held on July 17, 2018.
The hearings against signatory academics started on December 5, 2017. As of June 7, 254 academics had their first hearings. 15 of these academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison and all of the sentences were suspended, except for those of Prof. Dr. Zübeyde Füsun Üstel from Galatasaray University and Prof. Dr. Büşra Ersanlı from Marmara 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. With the participation of further academics, the number of academics who have signed the declaration has reached 2,212.
With the indictment issued by the Prosecutor İsmet Bozkurt, lawsuits were filed against the academics on charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" as per the Article No. 7/2 of the Turkish Anti-Terror Law No. 3713.
As of June 7, 2018, 254 academics had stood trial since December 5, 2017. 15 of these academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison and all of the sentences were suspended, except for those of Prof. Dr. Zübeyde Füsun Üstel from Galatasaray University and Prof. Dr. Büşra Ersanlı from Marmara University.
The penalty of Prof. Dr. Üstel was not deferred on the grounds that "she did not demand deferment of the announcement of the verdict and that she did not make a statement of penitence." As for the penalty of Prof. Dr. Büşra Ersanlı, it was not deferred on the ground that "no opinion as to her avoidance of committing offense has emerged considering her personality which does not express any remorse."
On March 10, 2016, the Academics for Peace made a statement for press and shared with the public what they had been going through since the declaration "We will not be a party to this crime" was published. The academics Dr. Lecturer Esra Mungan, Dr. Lecturer Muzaffer Kaya, Assoc. Prof. Dr Kıvanç Ersoy (March 15, 2016) and Dr. Lecturer Meral Camcı (March 31, 2016), who read out the above-mentioned statement for press, were arrested on charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" as per the Article No. 7/2 of the Turkish Anti-Terror Law. They were released on April 2016. Upon the request of the Prosecutor's Office, the Ministry of Justice granted a permission of trial as per the Article No. 301 of the Turkish Penal Code No. 301 on charges of "insulting the Turkish Nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey and the institutions and organs of the government." The lawsuits still continue. (TP/SD)
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