Prosecutor Demands Lawyer Be Penalized for ‘Overstepping the Boundary of Defense’

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  • December 3, 2019
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Charged with insulting the President, lawyer Ozgur Urfa has made defense in court: It is the Ministry of Justice that is both the complainant of the case and gave the permission for investigation and trial. The Ministry will give the verdict, if possible.

Charged with "insulting the President" due to his remarks in a petition submitted to court five years ago, Ozgur Urfa made defense in his first hearing at the Istanbul 4th Heavy Penal Court today (December 3).

Speaking to bianet, lawyer Urfa has said that the prosecutor announced his opinion as to the accusations in today's hearing and demanded that Urfa be penalized as per the Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) on the ground that he "overstepped the boundary of defense."

In his statement of defense, the lawyer said, "It is not only me who is put on trial, but also the profession of defense itself."

All requests of Urfa have been rejected by the court. Urfa also requested that the case file be demanded from the court in Kocaeli, to which Urfa submitted the petition. "If we had not requested time for defense in the first hearing today, the verdict could have been given", Urfa has commented.

He has also said that his address to Erdogan as "AKP Chair and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan who is in the position of responsibility for unlawfulnesses and corruptions" cannot be considered an insult to president.

'Not only criticism, but also defending the critic is a crime'

In his defense, Urfa underlined that "the lawsuits filed for insulting the President have entered a new phase as they are now not contented with launching investigations and prosecutions against tens of thousands of people and the turn has come for the lawyers who represent them in court."

"After speaking critical of the President has been declared a crime, they are now attempting to impose defending the people put on trial in these lawsuits as a crime on us", Urfa added further.

'He cannot end criticisms by filing complaints, lawsuits'

Indicating that the lawsuits in question were political lawsuits, Urfa said, "For that reason, political evaluations made by both the parties and their attorneys in political lawsuits are required by the very nature of these lawsuits."

"The complainant [President Erdogan] is a President in the capacity of a party chair and he has to accept the political criticisms against himself due to his political activities. He should abandon the idea that he will end criticisms by filing criminal complaints against tens of thousands of people or complaining in the already launched lawsuits."

'Crime scene indicated as 'Sincan' where I did not go'

Expressing his objections on procedural grounds as well, lawyer Urfa also underlined that the crime scene was indicated in the indictment as Sincan, Ankara, which had nothing to do with the case file:

"The crime scene was written as Sincan/Ankara in the indictment. In fact, the petition containing the remarks that are subject matter of this lawsuit was submitted in Istanbul and sent to the Presidency of the Court of Cassation by the court in Kirikkale.

"If the date of the incident is October 2, 2014, as it is indicated in the indictment, then, this date is the date when the petition was submitted and, therefore, the scene of incident is Istanbul.

"While the prosecution has taken the date when the petition was submitted in Istanbul as the date when the crime was committed, it has considered Sincan, which has nothing to do with the matter in dispute and where I did not go on those dates, to be the scene of crime."

'Almost all actions taken by a single authority'

Lawyer Ozgur Urfa also criticized the fact that the Ministry of Justice both filed the criminal complaint leading to the lawsuit to be filed and granted the permission for investigation and prosecution:

"The complainant/plaintiff of the case is the Ministry of Justice. It is also the Ministry of Justice which has granted the permission for investigation.

"It is again the complainant/plaintiff of the case which has given permission for prosecution as per the Article 59 of the Legal Profession Act and prosecution as per the Article 299 of the TCK.

"Almost all actions in the file have been taken by a single authority. For that reason, it is possible to talk about one-sided attitudes of the Ministry of Justice, rather than a legal trial. If possible, the Ministry of Justice will not hesitate to give the verdict itself in the file.

"The fact that the complainant of the case file in question and the authority that has given the permission for investigation and prosecution are the same openly violates the right to a fair trial."

After Urfa presented his statement of defense, the prosecutor announced his opinion as to the accusations, demanding that the lawyer be penalized for "insulting the President." The court has accepted the defense's request for additional time and adjourned the hearing to April 2, 2020.

Source: English Bianet