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 29).
Nine academics had their hearings at six separate courts.
At the İstanbul 24th Heavy Penal Court: Dr. Lecturer Özlem Güçlü from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (MSGSÜ) had her second hearing.
At the İstanbul 25th Heavy Penal Court: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yıldırım Şentürk had his second and Dr. Lecturer Gevher Gökçe had the first hearing.
At the İstanbul 28th Heavy Penal Court: Research assistant Onur Baysal from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (MSGSÜ) had his third hearing.
At the İstanbul 29th Heavy Penal Court: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Serdar Ulaş Bayraktar, who was discharged from Mersin University, had his first hearing.
At the İstanbul 36th Heavy Penal Court: Dr. Lecturer Umut Şah and Dr. Efe Arık from İstanbul Arel University and Dr. Lecturer Reyda Ergün from Kadir Has University had their third hearings.
At the İstanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court: Prof. Dr. Ayşe Huri Özdoğan from İstanbul University had her third hearing.
One academic sentenced to prison
The court board of the 28th Heavy Penal Court rejected all justifications that were presented by academic Onur Baysal and his attorney, who did not attend the hearing due to their excuses.
The board ruled that Baysal shall be sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison on charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" as per the Article no. 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK).
The announcement of the verdict has been suspended.
Additional defense requested from two academics
At the 25th Heavy Penal Court, the court board demanded additional defense from Gevher Gökçe and Yıldırım Şentürk on the ground that there is a possibility to charge them with "aiding a terrorist organization as non-members" instead of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization."
One case file combined
At the 24th Heavy Penal Court, the court ruled that the file of Özlem Güçlü shall be combined with other case files heard by the same court.
At the 29th Heavy Penal Court, where academic Serdar Ulaş Bayraktar attended his first hearing via Audio and Visual Information System (SEGBİS), the court board submitted a request to the Ministry of Justice to continue his trial as per the Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TSK).
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 30, 2018, 388 academics had stood trial since December 5, 2017. 38 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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