TRIAL OF ACADEMICS: 6 Academics Have Their Second Hearings

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Trial 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 (October 10).

At the 30th Heavy Penal Court, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ömer Turan from İstanbul Bilgi University and Dr. Begüm Özden Fırat from Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts had their first hearings.

The court board ruled that the case files of Turan and Fırat shall be combined. The court board also ruled that the next hearings of the academics shall be held on February 1, 2019.

The court board of the İstanbul 30th Heavy Penal Court consisted of Presiding Judge Utku Ercan; members Mustafa Cemil Demir, Ahmet Tarık Çiftçioğlu; and Prosecutor Mustafa Güner.

At the 37th Heavy Penal Court, Prof. Dr. Naz Çavuşoğlu, research assistant Can Soylu, Prof. Dr. H.K.A. from İstanbul University; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Buket Türkmen and Dr. Lecturer Gülsün Güvenli from Galatasaray University and Prof. Dr. Gençay Gürsoy, who retired from İstanbul University, had their second hearings.

The court board ruled that the next hearings of H.K.A. and Gülsün Güvenli shall be held on November 1, 2018; the next hearings of Gençay Gürsoy, Naz Çavuşoğlu and Can Soylu shall be held on December 11, 2018; and that of Buket Türkmen shall be held on December 13.

The court board of the İstanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court consisted of Presiding Judge Akın Gürlek; membres Ferhat Gülbağça, Ferhat Şahin; and Prosecutor Can Tümer Keriş.

Participating in the statement for the press held before the hearings, Vice President of Bordeaux University Prof. Antoine de Daruvar shared the message of solidarity of Bordeaux University with the Academics for Peace.

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. 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 October 10, 2018, 294 academics had stood trial since December 5, 2017. 27 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. (BK/SD)

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