TRIAL OF ACADEMICS: First Hearings of 3 Academics Held

TRIAL OF ACADEMICS: First Hearings of 3 Academics Held

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Click to read the article in Turkish

Three academics, who are charged with “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” for signing the declaration entitled “We will not be a party to this crime” prepared by Academics for Peace, had their first hearing at 37th Heavy Penal Court in İstanbul Courthouse.

Discharged from Faculty of Communication at Marmara University, Dr. Utku Uraz Aydın has stood ready in the courtroom. Assist. Prof. Dr. Filiz Arıöz from Faculty of Pharmacy and Prof. Dr. Nihal Saban from Faculty of Law haven’t attended the hearing due to their medical reports.

Lawyers’ demands for immediate acquittal and the files be combined have been rejected.

All of the hearings have been adjourned to October 11.

The hearings against signatory academics started on December 5, 2017. As of March 20, 163 people had their first hearings and 30 of them had the second. Three academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison, and the sentences were suspended.

The court committee consisted of the following figures:

Chief judge: Erdoğan Şimşek

Members: Kadir Alpar, Serkan Baş

Prosecutor: Can Tümer Keriş.

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 March 20, 163 people had their first hearings and 30 of them had the second. Three academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison, and the sentences were suspended. (TP/TK)

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