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Trials 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 after the new court year began.
First hearings of Bülent Bilmez and Süreyya Topaloğlu from Bilgi University, T.E. from Pennsylvania have been held in 25th Heavy Penal Court.
The court board consisted of the following figures: Presiding Judge: Selami Yılmaz, Members: Beyhan Acar and Burcu Dündar Bakar, Public Prosecutor: Mehmet İlker Durmaz.
Bilmez couldn’t attend the hearing as he was abroad. Bilmez’s lawyer Sennur Baybuğa stood ready in the hearing. The hearing was adjourned to February 12, 2019. Bilmez will be deposed by officials in Germany.
Topaloğlu couldn’t attend the hearing as she was abroad. Bilmez’s lawyer Meriç Eyüboğlu stood ready in the hearing. Eyüboğlu demanded that the client give her statement of defense on her return since she will be abroad in September.
The hearing was adjourned to October 11.
Topaloğlu couldn’t attend the hearing as she was abroad. Bilmez’s lawyer Meriç Eyüboğlu stood ready in the hearing.
As the court ruling was written down, Presiding Judge Yılmaz turned to Lawyer Eyüboğlu and observers and said, “A woman journalist referring to me wrote that ‘he doesn’t read the indictment to understand’. We don’t read to understand but out of procedure”.
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 June 26, 2018, 256 academics had stood trial since December 5, 2017. 16 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/TK)
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