38 Academics Acquitted So Far

Yazar / Referans: 
Tansu Pişkin, Bianet

Academics Serdar Değirmencioğlu and Özlem Savaş have been acquitted by the 30th Heavy Penal Court in line with the Constitutional Court decision. The 25th Heavy Penal Court acquitted 12 academics without a public hearing.

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 11).

The 30th Heavy Penal Court ruled for the acquittal of Prof. Dr. Serdar Değirmencioğlu, who was dismissed from Doğuş University, and Dr. Lecturer Özlem Savaş from Bilkent University. Dr. Serdar Değirmencioğlu and Asst. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Özlem Savaş was acquitted in line with the decision of the Constitutional Court (AYM) for violation of rights ".

Esra Cesur Erdem from METU had her first hearing at the 37th Heavy Penal Court. The court decided on the lack of jurisdiction upon the request of the defendant's lawyer and sent the file to Ankara Heavy Penal Court on Duty.

The prosecutor asked for a deadline in both cases to prepare his opinion on the merits, stating that he was temporarily assigned to the court.

The court adjourned the hearings to September 12 for the prosecutor to present his opinion on the merits.

Postponement at 13th Heavy Penal Court

13. Asst. Assoc. Prof. Dr. İlker Gökhan Şen recalled the decision of the Constitutional Court in his defense, saying, "Even the lengthening out of this trial is increasing the violation of my rights."

The court decided to send the case file to the prosecution for the preparation of the opinion as to the accusations and adjourned the hearing to December 5.

12 acquittals at 25th Heavy Penal Court

The 25th Heavy Penal Court acquitted the academics who were on trial without an open hearing. Thus, a total of 37 academics have been acquitted since September 2, 2019, with three of them being in Diyarbakır, 32 in İstanbul and two in İzmir.

The names of the acquitted academics at the 25th Heavy Penal Court:

Postgraduate Doğan Emrah Zıraman ve Assoc. Prof. Yıldırım Şentürk from Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, Research Associate Özlem Köseoğlu, Research Associate Yörük Kurtaran and Assoc Prof. Bülent Bilmez from Bilgi University, Prof. Dr. Ali Çeliksöz from Cumhuriyet University, Dr. Lecturer Hilal Alkan Zeybek from 29 Mayıs University, Dr. Lecturer Kasım Akbaş from Anadolu University, Prof. Dr. Onur Hamzaoğlu from Kocaeli University, Research Associate Asena Pala from Artuklu University, T.E.K. from Pennsylvania University, Prof. Dr. Erhan Ünlü from Dicle University.

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.

After the ruling 37 academics have been acquitted so far.

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: http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/212916-37-academics-acqu...