CUMHURİYET TRIAL: First Day of 2nd Hearing: 8 Cumhuriyet Employees Heard

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The second hearing in Cumhuriyet Trial in which 20 defendants, six of whom are in detention on remand, are standing trial, begun today (September 11).

The hearing was held in a hearing room set up outside Silivri Prison.

The first hearing of the trial was had begun on July 24, 2017 before İstanbul 27th Heavy Criminal Court and lasted five days.

In today’s hearing, accounting employee Emre İper represented by Attorney Abbas Yalçın was heard as a defendant along with other employees of Cumhuriyet daily who were heard as witnesses.

Cumhuriyet daily’s former editor-in-chief İbrahim Yıldız, News Coordinator Aykut Küçükkaya, former member of the Cumhuriyet Foundation Executive Board Nevzat Tüfekçioğlu, correspondent Miyase İlknur, former executive of the Cumhuriyet Foundation Nail İnal, columnist Şükran Soner, former executives of Cumhuriyet Foundation, Cumhuriyet daily’s former public accountant Mustafa Pamukoğlu and İnan Kıraç were heard as witnesses.

Columnist Kadri Gürsel among the defendants who are in detention on remand, said that his right to a fair trial was being violated.
The prosecutor of the case demanded “extending the detention on remand for all suspects on remand due to suspicion of obfuscating evidences and inadequacy of probation”.

The attorneys of the defendants objected to the prosecutors request and demanded the release of their clients.

20 defendants standing trial

18 Cumhuriyet employees and executives as well as a former Cumhuriyet freelancer (İlhan Tanır) and a Twitter user (Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu) are standing trial in Cumhuriyet trial.

6 defendants in detention on remand

Cumhuriyet Daily Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, Executive Board Chairperson, Attorney Akın Atalay, columnist Kadri Gürsel, correspondent Ahmet Şık, accounting manager Emre İper and Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu (charged for this tweets) are standing trial and are in detention on remand.

12 defendants who are not on remand

Cumhuriyet daily readers’ representative Güray Öz, cartoonist Musa Kart, Cumhuriyet Bülent Utku, columnist Hakan Kara, Cumhuriyet Foundation Management Board members Önder Çelik, Attorney Bülent Utku and Attorney Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Editor-in-Chief of the Cumhuriyet Book Supplement Turhan Günay and former editor-in-chief and columnist Aydın Engin, columnist Hikmet Çetinkaya, former accounting manager Bülent Yener, accounting manager Günseli Özaltay, and Cumhuriyet Foundation Management Board President Orhan Erinç are the defendant who are not on remand.

An order was issued to take Cumhuriyet daily’s former editor-in-chief, columnist Can Dündar and former employee İlhan Tanır forcibly to court to testify.

Observers of the hearing

* Illustration: Tarık Tolunay

Republican People’s Party (CHP) MPs Mahmut Tanal, İlhan Cihaner, Utku Çakırözer, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Hilmi Yarayıcı, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MPs Filiz Kerestecioğlu, Garo Paylan, Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Ertuğrul Kürkçü, Meral Danış Beştaş, independent MP Aylin Nazlı Aka are among other MPs who observed the hearing.

* Illustration: Murat Başol

Sarah Clarke (PEN International ), Jorgen Lorentzen (PEN Norway), Maria Emilia Arioli (PEN Switzerland), Tine Danckaers (PEN Belgium), Pilar Cebrian (Antena3 tv / Spain), Markus Spillman (International Press Institute / IPI), Steven Ellis (International Press Institute / IPI), Rebecca Vincent (Reporters without Borders / RSF), Christophe Deloire (Reporters without Borders / RSF), Rebecca Harms (European Parliament / EP) were within the international committee which also came to observe the hearing.

Chief Judge: Lack of space

* Illustration: Murat Başol

The Chief Judge Abdurrahman Orkun Dağ said:

“I can see that there is a lack of space. But even if we switched to a bigger courtroom, we would experience the same problem. So the illustrators can sit beside attorneys” and ordered the gendarmerie personnel sitting in the back rows behind the observers ouside of the courtroom. 

İper: I would make no FETÖ member

* Illustrator: Halil Yavuz Ertürk

The second hearing of Cumhuriyet Trial begun with the defence of Cumhuriyet daily’s accounting personnel Emre İper, whose case was combined with the main trial held before İstanbul 27th Heavy Criminal Court.

per denied the accusations that the was a user of ByLock, a communication software allegedly used among members of Gülen Community and said:

“I would make no FETÖ member. And I am among those who got the most harm by that terrorist organization. My friends and family members also stood trial in cases which were conspired by them. And I continued to work with Cumhuriyet daily.

Attorney Abbas Yalçın representing İper giving some technical information on the usage of ByLock system, stated that İper did not have ByLock installed on his cell phone.

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”.

The names of those standing trial

Arrested: Kadri Gürsel, Akın Atalay, Güray Öz, Musa Kart, Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu, Bülent Utku, Hakan Karasinir, Murat Sabuncu, Ahmet Şık, Önder Çelik, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Turhan Günay.

Probation: Aydın Engin, Hikmet Çetinkaya.

Confidentiality order: Bülent Yener, Günseli Özaltay, Orhan Erinç.

Order issued to take forcibly to testify: Can Dündar, İlhan Tanır.