The fourth hearing in Cumhuriyet Trial, in which 20 employees of Cumhuriyet daily and a Twitter user are standing trial and five of the defendants are in detention pending trial, will be held today before İstanbul 27th Assize Court in Çağlayan.
In the fourth hearing which will be held one year after the first operation against Cumhuriyet daily employees and the first wave of detentions, President of Cumhuriyet daily's Executive Board Attorney Akın Atalay, Cumhuriyet accounting personnel Emre İper , Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, correspondent Ahmet Şık, and Twitter user Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu who have been jailed pending trial, will be tried. In the last hearing on September 25, Columnist Kadri Gürsel was released pending trial.
International observers of the hearing
Sarah Clark from PEN International, Rachida Lanrabet from PEN Belgium, German journalist and writer Hans-Günter Wallraff, Jorgen Lorentzen from PEN Norway, International Press Institute (IPI) President John Yearwood, Jesper Kamp from the Consulate of Belgium and Sema Kılıçer from the European Union (EU) Turkey Delegation will observe today's hearing.
Cumhuriyet daily ombudsperson Güray Öz, cartoonist Musa Kart, Cumhuriyet Foundation Management Board member Attorney Bülent Utku, columnist Hakan Kara, Cumhuriyet Foundation Management Board member Önder Çelik, Cumhuriyet Foundation Management Board member Attorney Mustafa Kemal Güngör, and Editor-in-Chief of the Cumhuriyet Book Supplement Turhan Günay were released in the hearing held on July 29 and Cumhuriyet daily columnist was released on the third hearing held on September 25.
President of the Executive Board Attorney Akın Atalay and Cumhuriyet Daily Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu have been in jail pending trial for 366 days, journalist Ahmet Şık for 305 days and accounting personnel Emre İper for 208 days.
On October 31, 2016, İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office began investigating Cumhuriyet Foundation executives on charges of "Making publications that justify July 15 coup attempt" and "committing crime for PKK/KCK and FETÖ/PDY as non members".
On the same day, Cumhuriyet Daily Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, columnist Hakan Kara, columnist Hikmet Çetinkaya, columnist Kadri Gürsel, President of the Executive Board Attorney Akın Atalay, Cumhuriyet daily ombudsperson Güray Öz, former Editor-in-Chief and columnist Aydın Engin, cartoonist Musa Kart, Cumhuriyet Foundation Management Board member Attorney Bülent Utku, Cumhuriyet Foundation Management Board member Attorney Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Cumhuriyet Foundation Management Board member Önder Çelik, former Accounting Manager Bülent Yener, Editor-in-Chief of the Cumhuriyet Book Supplement Turhan Günay and Accounting Manager Günseli Özaltay were taken into custody in a police operation.
On December 31, 2016 correspondent Ahmet Şık and on April 19, 2017 accounting department employee Emre İper were arrested.
On April 4, 2017, after 156 days in pre-detention following the first wave of arrests on November 5, 2016, the bill of indictment was prepared.
Two hearings have been held so far. At the end of the first hearing, Güray Öz, Musa Kart, Bülent Utku, Hakan Kara, Önder Çelik, Mustafa Kemal Güngör and Turhan Günay were released and Murat Sabuncu, Akın Atalay, Kadri Gürsel, Ahmet Şık and Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu remained further in jail. At the end of the second hearing, the court denied the release of the six defendants in detention on remand. Columnist Kadri Gürsel was released on the third hearing.
The investigation was initially launched by prosecutor Murat İnam who was at the same time a suspect in the trial of "FETÖ (Fethullahist Terrorist Organization)".
Who faces how many years in prison on what charges?
Can Dündar, Mehmet Murat Sabuncu, Kadri Gürsel, Aydın Engin, Bülent Yener and Günseli Özaltay face from 7.5 to 15 years in prison each on charge of "aiding an armed terrorist organization without being a member".
Akın Atalay, Mehmet Orhan Erinç and Önder Çelik face from 11.5 to 43 years in prison each on charges of "aiding an armed terrorist organization without being its members" and "misconduct".
Bülent Utku, Musa Kart, Hakan Karasinir, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Hikmet Aslan Çetinkaya, Güray Öz and Turhan Günay face from 9.5 to 29 years in prison each on charges of "aiding an armed terrorist organization without being its members" and "misconduct".
Ahmet Şık faces from 7.5 to 15 years in prison on charge of "aiding the armed terrorist organizations of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) without being a member".
Emre İper faces from 7.5 to 15 years in prison for "using ByLock (an encrypted communication software allegedly used among members of the Gülen Community) and therefore being a member of a terrorist organization".
Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu is being charged for 31 tweets posted from the Twitter account "jeansbiri" and in the indictment he is being accused of "serving the purposes of the armed terrorist organization FETÖ/PDY (Fethullahist Terror Organization/Parallel State Organization".
The names of those standing trial
Jailed pending trial: Akın Atalay, Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu, Emre İper, Murat Sabuncu, Ahmet Şık
Released on the first three hearings: Güray Öz, Musa Kart, Bülent Utku, Hakan Kara, Önder Çelik, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Turhan Günay and Kadri Gürsel
Released on probation: Aydın Engin, Hikmet Çetinkaya.
No sealing order on case: Bülent Yener, Günseli Özaltay, Orhan Erinç.
Court: İstanbul 27th Heavy Criminal Court.
Chief Judge: Abdurrahman Orkun Dağ.
Board of Judges: Seval Alaçam Sağlam, Ramazan Çiçek.
Prosecutor: Hacı Hasan Bölükbaşı.
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