Trial 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 today (October 12).
At the İstanbul 30th Heavy Penal Court, academic Tuğba Yıldırım from Sabancı University and research assistant Zeynep Yeşim Gökçe from İstanbul Bilgi University had their first hearings.
At the İstanbul 29th Heavy Penal Court, the hearings of the following academics, whose case files were previously combined at their first hearings, were held: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ahmet Tuna Altınel from Lyon-1 University; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ayşen Candaş Bilgen, Prof. Dr. Şemsa Özar and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Elif Aysimi-Duman from Boğaziçi University; Prof. Dr. Gencer Özcan and G.D. from İstanbul Bilgi University; Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ozan Erözden and Dr. C.A. from MEF University.
3 academics presented their statements of defense
Academics Ayşen Candaş-Bilgen and Ahmet Tuna Altınel could not attend their hearings on the ground that they were abroad; Elif Aysimi-Duman could not attend the hearing because she was on duty in university; and G.D. could not attend the hearing due to a medical report.
At the 29th Heavy Penal Court, academics Şemsa Özar, C.A. and Gencer Özcan presented their statements of defense.
Case files of 2 academics combined
At the 30th Heavy Penal Court, the court board ruled that the case files of Yıldırım and Gökçe shall be combined with the case files of other academics tried by the same court. Their next hearing will be held on February 1, 2019.
At the 29th Heavy Penal Court, the court board rejected the request that the case files of the academics be combined with the ones at the 13the Heavy Penal Court. The next hearing of the academics will be held on February 28.
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 Anti-Terror Law No. 3713.
As of October 12, 2018, 306 academics had stood trial since December 5, 2017. 27 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 trials still continue. (TP/SD)
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