The fifth hearing in Cumhuriyet Trial in which 20 defendants five of whom are in detention pending trial, was held today (December 25) before İstanbul 27th Assize Court in Çağlayan, İstanbul.
In today's hearing, the court heard Doğan Satmış and refused to hear defendant Ahmet Şık's statement of defence further and ordered him out of the courtroom.
The five defendants, namely Cumhuriyet Daily Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, Columnist Kadri Gürsel, President of the Executive Board Attorney Akın Atalay, Cumhuriyet daily accounting personnel Emre İper, reporter Ahmet Şık and Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu being charged dut to his tweets will enter 2018 behind bars. will further remain in detention pending trial end enter 2018 behind bars.
Atalay and Sabuncu have been behind bars for 422 days, Şık for 361 days and İper for 264.
The next hearing will be held on March 9, 2018.
On the last hearing held on October 31, the chief judge of the trial Abdurrahman Orkun Dağ had ruled that all defendants remain in detention pending trial and a member judge of the board of judges Halit İçdemir added an annotation regarding the decision of continuation of the detentions of the defendants Ahmet Şık, Murat Sabuncu and Akın Atalay.
The court also ordered Mehmet Faraç, Leyla Tavşanoğlu, and Doğan Satmış who was included in the case file later, to be brought by force to the hearing.
Witness Doğan Satmış
Doğan Satmış, who was heard as a witness stated that he had been serving as deputy Editor-in-Chief for 16 years in Cumhuriyet daily, and noted:
"I did not call these friends, members of FETÖ ("Fethullahist Terrorist Organization"), on the contrary, they have fought against FETÖ for years.
Defendant Ahmet Şık
Şık, speaking at the defendant's stand, said:
"There is a media, that sweeps the truth under the rug and aids and abets the act of darkening our joint future with every hidden piece of truth. There is a silent majority, that is trapped in a spiral of speechlessness, concerned about losing its comfort or with fear, while everything is happening before its eyes".
Chief Judge Dağ interrupted Şık's statement of defence and said:
"If you go on like this, I will not allow it. There are running investigations. This has nothing to do with the Government. If you will remain within the scope of defence, continue. But this is no defence. It is not a political case.. I will not allow such a statement of defence.
The chief judge ordered Şık out of the courtroom.
Rendering the interim decision in the fifth hearing, the court ruled that the defendants remain in detention pending trial. The case file has been referred to 28th Assize Court. The court has restricted the number of defending attorneys to three for each defendant.
The next hearing will be held on March 9, 2018 at 10 a.m. in Silivri Prison Complex.
Observers of the hearing
Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MPs Filiz Kerestecioğlu and Garo Paylan, Republican People's Party (CHP) MPs Sezgin Tanrıkulu and Mahmut Tanal as well as representatives from Reporters Without Borders, Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS), Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK) Press Union, Journalists' Association of Turkey (TGC) and British Consulate were in the courtroom to observe the hearing.
In addition, journalist İnan Kızılkaya who was arrested and later released in the trial of Özgür Gündem daily as well as Tunca Öğreten who was in pre-trial detention and later released pending trial in the social media trial in which six journalists and media workers are standing trial for reporting on the emails of Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak being hacked and leaked by the hacktivist group, were among the observers of the trial.
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 (Kurdistan Workers' Party/Kurdistan Communities Union) and FETÖ/PDY (Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Organization) as non members".
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)".
Five hearings have been held in the trial so far. The next hearing will be on March 9, 2018.
3rd hearing: Interim Judgement on 3rd Hearing: Gürsel Released
4th hearing: No Release in Cumhuriyet Trial
Defendants of Cumhuriyet Trial and their current situations
In detention pending trial:Cumhuriyet Daily Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, Columnist Kadri Gürsel, President of the Executive Board Attorney Akın Atalay, Cumhuriyet daily accounting personnel Emre İper, reporter Ahmet Şık and Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu being charged dut to his tweets.
Released on first four hearings: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, Editor-in-Chief of the Cumhuriyet Book Supplement Turhan Günay
Released on probation: Cumhuriyet daily's former Editor-in-Chief and columnist Aydın Engin, columnist Hikmet Çetinkaya.
No Confidentiality order: Cumhuriyet daily's former Accounting Manager Bülent Yener, and Accounting Manager Günseli Özaltay, Cumhuriyet Foundation Management Board President Orhan Erinç.
Detention order: Cumhuriyet daily's former Editor-in-Chief, columnist Can Dündar, Cumhuriyet daily's former employee İlhan Tanır.
All defendants except Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu are (former) employees or executives of Cumhuriyet daily.
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 as a non-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 as a non-member" and "misconduct".
Bülent Utku, Musa Kart, Hakan Karasinir, Mustafa Kemal Güngör and Hikmet Aslan Çetinkaya face from 9.5 to 29 years in prison each on charges of "aiding an armed terrorist organization as a non-member" and "misconduct".
Ahmet Şık faces from 7.5 to 15 years in prison each on charge of "aiding the armed terrorist organizations of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) as a non-member".
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