The latest hearing of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Turkey representative and bianet rapporteur of the BİA Media Monitoring Reports Erol Önderoğlu, writer Ahmet Nesin and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) President Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur-Fincancı was held yesterday as part of the Özgür Gündem daily trials. The next hearing will be on April 18, 2018.
Önderoğlu, Korur-Fincancı and Nesin are standing trial on charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" over attending the Editorship in Chief on Watch Campaign for the now-closed Özgür Gündem daily.
After the daily was closed through the Statutory Decree No. 675 issued under the State of Emergency, the solidarity campaign of "Editors-in-Chief on Watch" was launched on May 3, 2016 that ended on August 7, 2016. Investigations were launched into 50 of the 56 Editors-in-Chief on Watch who have participated in the campaign.
The Editors-in-Chief on Watch have stood trial on the charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" and for "publishing and spreading statements of terrorist organizations under the Articles 7(2) and 6(2) of the Anti-Terror Law No. 3713.
In yesterday's hearing held before İstanbul 13th Assize Court, Önderoğlu and Korur-Fincancı appeared before the judge and Nesin did not attend the hearing.
Observers of the trial
Rights advocates, Academics for Peace, international board representatives of RSF including the organization's Secretary General Christophe Deloire, Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MP Garo Paylan, Republican People's Party (CHP) MP Barış Yarkadaş were among the observers of the trial.
Önderoğlu: Justice necessary or everyone
Stating that he had already made his statement of defence, Önderoğlu addressed the hearing in Cumhuriyet trial on December 25 and criticized chief judge of the trial interrupting Ahmet Şık's statement of defence and ordering him out of the courtroom.
Önderoğlu said that Şık had been deprived of his right to defend himself which was his most fundamental right and noted:
"Being a suspect means that one is considered innocent until the final verdict is rendered. Therefore, we hope that such interventions end from now on. We might all be suspects in this country, standing trial is not a privilege. [...] Justice is necessary for everybody".
Korur-Fincancı: Violation of right to defence is worrisome
Stating that she had already made her statement of defence as well, Korur Fincancı also criticized the judge's intervention yesterday and noted:
"As a rights advocate, I as well agree with what our press worker friends have said. For us rights advocates, such an attitude of the judiciary that restricts the freedom of expression and violates the right to defend oneself, is worrisome.
Nesin's statement of defence is awaited
Attorney Oya Meriç Eyüboğlu representing defendant Ahmet Nesin informed that Nesin continued working on his statement of defence and that they had no demand at this stage of the trial.
Attorney Senem Doğanoğlu also representing Nesin, reminded that they had they had submitted an expert report to the court regarding the acquittal request of the defendant that was rejected earlier and demanded the report be referred to the Constitutional Court to be examined.
The court has ordered a stay of execution of the arrest warrant for Nesin, that his statement of defence be awaited and his application to the Constitutional Court against the rejection of his acquittal request be overruled.
The next hearing will be on April 18, 2018.
Board of Judges
Chief Judge: Fahrettin Düzalan.
Members of the board of judges: Kadir Karakoç, Dr. Abdullah Ok.
Prosecutor: Asım Ekren.
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