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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 19).
At the İstanbul 30th Heavy Penal Court, Dr. Aylin Kuryel from Amsterdam University and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nazan Haydari-Pakkan from İstanbul Bilgi University had their first hearings.
Kurye could not attend the hearing on the ground that she was abroad. The court board ruled that the case files of Kuryel and Haydari-Pakkan shall be combined with the case files of the other academics, who have been tried by the same court. Their next hearing will be held on February 1, 2019.
Request for Article 301 of Turkish Penal Code
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nazan Haydari-Pakkan, who appeared in court, stated that if a verdict of acquittal was not immediately issued, she demanded additional time to prepare her statement of defense.
In his statement of defense, the attorney of Haydari-Pakkan, İnayet Aksu said that the elements of the Article no. 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law did not arise and a discussion regarding the Article no. 301 of the Turkish Penal Code should be held in the case file.
Stating that their primary demand is immediate acquittal, İnayet Aksu said that in case the court board is of contrary opinion, the case files of the academics should be combined with the ones that have been heard by the İstanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court.
Case files combined
The court board ruled that the case files shall be sent to the Prosecutor’s Office for the preparation of the opinion as to the accusations.
The board also ruled that the case files of Kurye and Haydari-Pakkan shall be combined with the case files of the other academics tried by the same court. Their next hearing will be on February 1, 2019.
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 19, 2018, 340 academics had stood trial since December 5, 2017. 28 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. (TP/SD)