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 (September 18).
In the 28th Heavy Penal Court, Dr. Lecturer Bülent Küçük from the Department of Sociology; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Çiğdem Kafesçioğlu and Prof. Dr. N.N. from the Department of History; and Dr. Gaye Yılmaz from the Faculty of Educational Sciences at Boğaziçi University had their third hearings.
The court board consisted of Presiding Judge Ersin Özarslan; court members Serkan Yoğurtçu, Muhsin Onay; Public Prosecutor Orhan Uzun.
In the first hearing held today at the 28th Heavy Penal Court, the third hearing of Dr. Gaye Yılmaz was held. The attorney İnayet Aksu could not attend the hearing on the ground that he was ill.
Presiding Judge Özarsalan did not accept Aksu's excuse and rejected Yılmaz's request that her hearing be adjourned.
Özarslan also ordered the journalists out of the courtroom for allegedly using their computers during the hearing without permission.
Dr. Gaye Yılmaz, who was without an attorney and could not make her defence, has been sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison. The prison sentence of Yılmaz has been suspended.
In the second hearing held today at the 28th Heavy Penal Court, the third hearing of Dr. Lecturer Bülent Küçük was held.
Journalists were not allowed to attend the hearing. Being asked about his last words, Küçük stated that he repeated his previous defence.
Küçük has been sentenced to 1 year and 6 months in prison. Taking the behavior of the defendant during the judicial process into consideration, the court board has abated the prison sentence of Küçük to 1 year and 3 months. The prison sentence of Küçük has been suspended.
In the third hearing held at the 28th Heavy Penal Court today, Prof. Dr. N.N. had her third hearing. In her statement of defence, N.N. said,
"I find the charges pressed against me unacceptable. I signed the declaration as a citizen, a historian, a social scientist and as a public officer. I signed it as someone who is against violence and in favor of peace. I demand my acquittal."
The court board has ruled that Prof. Dr. N.N. shall be sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison. Her sentence has been suspended.
At the 28th Heavy Penal Court, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Çiğdem Kafesçioğlu also had her third hearing. Presenting her statement of defence, Kafesçioğlu said,
"I believe that the content of the declaration is within the scope of freedom of expression. I consider the declaration "We will not be a party to this crime" to be an immediate call so that the society can live in law, an environment of peace and security."
The court board has ruled that Kafesçioğlu shall be sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison. Her prison sentence has also been suspended.
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 September 18, 2018, 264 academics had stood trial since December 5, 2017. 23 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. (HA/SD)
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