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 yesterday (November 1).
Six academics had their hearings at two courts:
At the İstanbul 27th Heavy Penal Court: Prof. Dr. Ali Kerem Saysel, discharged academic Dr. Lecturer Noemi Matilde Levy-Aksu, Prof. Dr. Neş'e Bilgin and Dr. Lecturer Ali Tuna Kuyucu from Boğaziçi University had their second hearings.
At the İstanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court: H.K.A. and Dr. Lecturer Gülsün Güvenli from Galatasaray University had their third hearings.
2 Academics demanded to be penalized
The Prosecutor's Office announced its opinion as to the accusation for academics H.K.A and Gülsün Güvenli at the 37th Heavy Penal Court.
The office demanded that the academics be penalized as per the Article no. 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law.
Presiding Judge: I have no knowledge about that issue
During the hearing of Prof. Dr. Ali Kerem Saysel, his attorney İnayet Aksu stated that state officials sat on the same table with the "PKK/ KCK (Kurdistan Workers Party/ Kurdistan Communities Union) terrorist organizations" indicated in the indictment in 2013 for the solution process.
The Presiding Judge of the 27th Heavy Penal Court Tamer Keskin responded, "I have no knowledge about that issue. I was in (Turkey's eastern province of) Kars at the time. Several soldiers and police officers of ours became martyrs during the operations. I could not go from Kars to (the district of) Doğu Beyazıt because the roads were not safe."
"Collect money and send there instead"
After this conversation, Presiding Judge Keskin continued recounting his personal memories. In response to Keskin saying, "One needs to speak to the police, soldiers, people in Sur, Cizre and Nusaybin. I have not been there before", attorney Aksu stated that one needs to go and see them.
Presiding Judge continued, "But, sitting in Beşiktaş across the Bosphorus and sipping your scotch would not do. You should collect money and send to those people instead of writing a declaration."
In response, attorney İnayet Aksu said, "Academics for Peace are not people who just sit across the Bosphorus and sip their whiskies. They signed this declaration because they are interested in the problems of this country."
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 November 1, 2018, 379 academics had stood trial since December 5, 2017. 33 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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