23 Academics for Peace Acquitted in One Week

Yazar / Referans: 
Tansu Pişkin, Bianet

Several more academics have been acquitted after the Constitutional Court ruling.

Hearing of the academics who have been on trial for having signed the declaration entitled, "We will not be a party to this crime" continued today (September 10).

The hearing of Dr. Lecturer Eylem Çamuroğlu Çığ from Mersin University has been held at the 26th Heavy Penal Court. Proceedings of letters rogatory started previously as the academic is abroad. The prosecutor requested the rogatory proceedings be stopped and requested the acquittal of the defendant, referring the Constitutional Court ruling.

The court acquitted the defendant of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization."

Five academics were acquitted at the 28th Heavy Penal Court yesterday without a public hearing. The court further acquitted 11 academics today. Here are the names of the acquitted academics:

Dr. Lecturer Mehmet Penpecioğlu from İzmir Technology Institute, Dr. Ali Rıza Güngen from 19 Mayıs University, Research Associate Gülsevim Evsel and Dr. Lecturer Başak Alpan from METU, Research Associate Aysun Gezen from Ankara University, Prof. Dr. Mihriban Özbaşaran from İstanbul University, Research Associate Damla Karaman from Mimar Sinan University, Prof. Dr. Cem Terzi from Dokuz Eylül University, Dr. Alper Açık from Özyeğin University, Assoc. Prof. Yasemin Özgün from Anadolu University, Assoc. Prof. Eylem Kılıç Oğurlu from 100. Yıl University, Dr. Lecturer Fatma Işık gürleyen from İzmir University of Economics Research Associate Sinem Önem and Uğur Çetin from Hacettepe University, Assoc. Prof. Sevilay Çelenk from Ankara University, Lecturer Abdullah Deveci from Anadolu University.

Two acquittals in İzmir

The Academics for Peace has announced that two academics were acquitted in the hearings held in İzmir.

İzmir 14th Heavy Penal Court also dismissed the case of the only academic it has on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction.

A total of 22 academics have been acquitted in İstanbul, İzmir and Diyarbakır since September 2.

About the Trials of Academics

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 September 9, 2019, 640 academics had stood trial since December 5, 2017, all the 204 academics whose cases were concluded were sentenced to prison. 146 of these academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison; 8 academics to 1 year and 6 months in prison; 18 academics to 1 year, 10 months and 15 days in prison; 17 academics to 2 years and 3 months in prison; 7 academics to 2 years and 6 months in prison; 5 academics to 2 years and 1 month in prison; and one academic to 3 years in prison.

Non-deferred prison sentences for 36 people

Of these 204 people, the verdicts of conviction of 36 academics in total were not deferred; while the verdicts of 29 people were not deferred as their prison terms are over 2 years (as per the Article 286 of the Law on Criminal Courts), the verdicts of 7 academics were not deferred as they did not accept the deferment of the announcement of their verdicts.

With her 15-month prison sentence upheld by the court of appeal, Academic for Peace Prof. Dr. Füsun Üstel was arrested on May 8, 2019 to be released on July 22.

Constitutional Court said "violation of right"

The General Assembly of the Constitutional Court examined the individual applications of 10 Academics for Peace sentenced to prison on charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" for having signed the peace declaration.

On July 26, 2019, the Court ruled that the penalization of Academics for Peace on charge of "terror propaganda" has violated their freedom of expression.

The Court decided that a copy of this judgement shall be sent to all local courts in order to eliminate this right's violation and advised for retrial. The court also ruled to pay each applicant 9 thousand TRY in reparations.

After the new judicial year opened on September 2, the first verdict of acquittal for an Academic for Peace in accordance with the Constitutional Court ruling was given by the İstanbul 30th Heavy Penal Court.

Constitutional Court ruling and its consequences

The ruling of the Constitutional Court stipulates that the local courts shall hold re-trials and give verdicts of acquittal in ongoing cases and for finalized sentences and the courts of appeal shall reverse the judgements in question.

The State of Emergency Commission, which has not yet given its decision regarding the applications of discharged academics, shall also take the Constitutional Court ruling into account. However, it can still give contrary rulings.

In the event that the Commission gives a decision against the academics, they will have the right to appeal to the Council of State. Though the Constitutional Court ruling is binding for the Council of State, any possible failure to withdraw the decisions of discharge will also be examined by the Constitutional Court.

You can reach all news on Trials of Academics here

You can reach the statements of Academics for Peace in English here


Source: https://bianet.org/5/110/212842-22-academics-for-peace-acquitted-in-one-...