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Verdicts were rendered yesterday (April 5) for two more academics who are tried for having signed the declaration entitled “We will not be a party to this crime” prepared by Academics for Peace.
The academics refuted the charges and demanded their acquittal. The prosecutor demanded that both academics be penalized over Turkish Penal Code Article 7/2.
İstanbul 36th Heavy Penal Court sentenced chemistry professor Melda Tunçay, retired from Marmara University, and Prof. Tevfik Hakan Ongan, discharged from Faculty of Economics at İstanbul University, to 15 months in prison each. The court deferred announcement of the verdict.
The hearings against signatory academics started on December 5, 2017. As of April 5, 185 people had their first hearings, 33 of them had their second hearings and one academic had the third. Seven academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison, and the sentences were suspended. All sentences except the one imposed on Prof. Dr. Zübeyde Füsun Üstel from Galatasaray University have been deferred.
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.
On March 10, 2016, Asst. Prof. Dr. Esra Mungan, Asst. Prof. Dr. Muzaffer Kaya, Assoc. Prof. Dr Kıvanç Ersoy and Asst. Prof. Dr. Meral Camcı read out the press statement at a press conference that was was held on behalf of the Academics for Peace/Istanbul group regarding the developments which had occurred since the declaration was first shared with the public.
The first three of these academics were arrested on the charge of "terrorist propaganda" on March 15, 2016, and the last, Camcı, who was abroad at the time, was arrested on March 31 when she returned to Turkey. The four academics were released on April 22, 2016 upon their first hearing, in which the prosecutor of the trial changed the charges pressed against the academics to the crimes regulated under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (insulting Turkey, the Turkish nation, or Turkish government institutions) and applied for authorization from the Ministry of Justice to hold the trial under the new article.
Another bill of indictment was prepared in October 2017 regarding at least 148 academics who signed the declaration. The academics were charged with "terrorist organization propaganda" under Article 7/2 of the Turkish Anti-Terror Act (#3713) in the bill of indictment prepared by Prosecutor İsmet Bozkurt. The first hearings were held on December 5, 2017.
As of April 5, 185 people had their first hearings, 33 of them had their second hearings and one academic had the third. Seven academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison, and the sentences were suspended. All sentences except the one imposed on Prof. Dr. Zübeyde Füsun Üstel from Galatasaray University have been deferred. (BK/TK)
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