TRIAL OF ACADEMICS: 2 More Academics Have Their First Hearings

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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 today (May 3).

Mahmut Çınar from Bahçeşehir University and Gizem Sayın, a research assistant from the Faculty of Law at Kadir Has University have had their first hearings at the 37th Heavy Penal Court.

While the academics attended the hearings, their attorneys presented excuses. Stating that the indictments have not been delivered to them, the academics demanded additional time for the statements of defence.

At both hearings, the Prosecutor's Office requested that the following documents be demanded: The indictment of the case at the 13th Heavy Penal Court, where the first court case against the Academics for Peace was filed; the minutes of the court hearing; the official letter written to the Ministry of Justice about the investigation permit as per the Article No. 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and the letter sent in response. The court board accepted the request of the Prosecutor's Office.

The next hearing of Mahmut Çınar will be held on October 9 at 11 a.m. and the next hearing of Gizem Sayın will be held on October 9 at 11.15 a.m.

The court board consisted of the Presiding Judge Erdoğan Şimşek, the court members Kadir Alpar and Erol Güngör and the prosecutor Can Tümer Keriş.

The hearings against signatory academics started on December 5, 2017. As of May 3, 204 academics had their first hearings. 13 of these academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison and all of the sentences were suspended, except for that of Prof. Dr. Zübeyde Füsun Üstel from Galatasaray University.

What happened?

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.

On March 10, 2016, Asst. Prof. Dr. Esra Mungan, Asst. Prof. Dr. Muzaffer Kaya, Assoc. Prof. Dr Kıvanç Ersoy and Asst. Prof. Dr. Meral Camcı read out the press statement at a press conference that was was held on behalf of the Academics for Peace/Istanbul group regarding the developments which had occurred since the declaration was first shared with the public.

The first three of these academics were arrested on the charge of "terrorist propaganda" on March 15, 2016, and the last, Camcı, who was abroad at the time, was arrested on March 31 when she returned to Turkey. The four academics were released on April 22, 2016 upon their first hearing, in which the prosecutor of the trial changed the charges pressed against the academics to the crimes regulated under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (insulting Turkey, the Turkish nation, or Turkish government institutions) and applied for authorization from the Ministry of Justice to hold the trial under the new article.

Another bill of indictment was prepared in October 2017 regarding at least 148 academics who signed the declaration. The academics were charged with "terrorist organization propaganda" under Article 7/2 of the Turkish Anti-Terror Act (#3713) in the bill of indictment prepared by Prosecutor İsmet Bozkurt. The first hearings were held on December 5, 2017.

As of May 3, 204 academics had their first hearings. 13 of these academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison and all of the sentences were suspended, except for that of Prof. Dr. Zübeyde Füsun Üstel from Galatasaray University. (BK/SD)

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