Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court reopened the case of Doğan Akhanlı, a writer whose acquittal verdict has been overthrown by Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals.
While defense lawyers requested the court to follow the previous acquittal ruling, the court penal issued a red notice for the defendant, saying that the overthrown verdict was against the defendants and defendant’s further remarks needed to be heard.
“The court requires to hear the defendant again on procedural overthrown rulings. However, we have expressed that our client is unable to attend the hearing. Therefore, the court issued a red notice according to the procedures,” defense lawyer Sennur Baybuğa told bianet.
The hearing was observed by over two dozen people including German author Günter Wallraff, Berivan Aymaz (Green Party), Frauke Bosbach (Left Party), Derya Kılıç, Bernhard von Grunberg (SPD) and social scientist Prof. Dr. Gert Bosbach.
“The labeling of dissident voices as terrorist is common among political powers,” Wallraff told press prior to the hearing.
“The fact that the practice is common worldwide doesn’t reduce the weight of it. On the contrary, it renders the situation more shameful and dangerous. It doesn’t matter if it is China, Russia, turkey, Egypt or the U.S.”
“The government must bring an end to illegal surveillance measures for the sake of thoight freedom and right to be informed. Those who protest governments’ arbitrary measures are neither terrorists or enemy of states. Indeed, they are active democrats who we need throughout the planet."
The next hearing is scheduled to October 4.
In 1989, author Erdoğan Akhanlı was ordered to stand trial for charges related to the robbery of a currency exchange office in Eminönü district, Istanbul. Prosecutors charged him with life sentence.
On 10 August 2010, Akhanlı was arrested on his trip to Turkey in order to see his sick father for the last time.
One of the evidence presented in Akhanlı case was a statement by Mustafa Tutum, son of currency exchange office owner, who reportedly identified Akhanlı in 1992.
Tutum was ordered to identify Akhanlı again 19 years after the incident. “I can’t identify him clearly,” he told authorities. He also commented on his identification in 1992, saying that “they didn’t show him this photo 19 years ago.”
On 8 December 2010, Akhanlı was released after 113 days of imprisonment - his father died in the meanwhile.
On 12 October 2011, Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court acquitted Akhanlı on the ground that “no evidence has been acquired in order to suffice for a sentence and consciously find in a credible, precise and doubt-free manner that the defendant has committed the attributed crime, and it was clear that the crime was committed by the defendant”.
However, Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals 9th Penal Chamber overthrew Akhanlı’s acquittal ruling on the ground that “the defendant was a terrorist organization member at the time of crime” and “the court need to discuss on former Turkish Penal Code’s article 146/1”. The penal chamber’s ruling also confirmed the life sentence on Akhanlı relying on the related articles. (EA/BM)
* Click here to see the original article in Turkish.
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