Prosecutor Demands Academic for Peace Altınel be Penalized for ‘Terror Propaganda’

Yazar / Referans: 
Tansu Pişkin, Bianet

Standing trial on charge of “membership of a terrorist organization”, Academic for Peace Assoc. Prof. Tuna Altınel had his second hearing. The prosecutor has demanded that Altınel be penalized for “propagandizing for a terrorist organization”.

Academic for Peace Assoc. Prof. Tuna Altınel from Lyon-1 University had his second hearing in the lawsuit filed against him on charge of "membership of a terrorist organization". The hearing was held at the Balıkesir 2nd Heavy Penal Court today (November 19).

Altınel was arrested as part of the investigation in Balıkesir on May 11, 2019 and released in his first hearing on July 30.

The prosecutor announced his opinion as to the accusations in the second hearing today. The prosecutor indicated that he would not request that Altınel be penalized on charge of "being a member of a terrorist organization" over his attendance to a conference entitled "Cizre: The story of a massacre".

Referring to the social media messages of the academic about the conference, the prosecutor has demanded that Tuna Altınel be penalized on charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization".

The next hearing has been adjourned to January 24 so that the defendant and his attorneys can prepare their statements as to the accusations.

Altınel: Not propaganda, but truths

Presenting his statement of defense, Altınel also referred to the social media messages mentioned by the prosecutor in his opinion as to the accusations.

Altınel said, "First of all, it is not a personal message, it is a text jointly prepared by the association. What happened in that period has been documented by the reports of human rights organizations. So, what you read was not an example of terror propaganda, but a series of truths."

Dismissing the charge of terror propaganda, Altınel stated, "I am held as a hostage with my passport confiscated. I demand an end to this situation." The academic also requested his acquittal.

After the attorneys also presented their statements of defense, the court adjourned the hearing to January 24, 2020.

What happened?

Assoc. Prof. Tuna Altınel from the Department of Mathematics at Lyon-1 University was arrested in Turkey's western province of Balıkesir on May 11, 2019 on the ground of a conference held in France.

Altınel was taken into custody on May 10, when he he went to the Balıkesir Civil Registry to inquire about the restriction imposed on his passport. Being referred to court on duty by the Prosecutor's Office to be arrested, the academic was arrested and sent to Kepsut Type L Prison.

The academic was charged with "membership of a terrorist organization" on the ground that he did simultaneous interpreting at a conference on "Cizre basements"* held in France in 2019.

In his first hearing on July 30, the court ruled for the release of Tuna Altınel without imposing any judicial control measures. Though no international travel ban has been imposed on the academic, his confiscated passport has not yet been returned to him without any legal grounds.

About Assoc. Prof. Tuna Altınel

Arrested and imprisoned in Turkey, Assoc. Prof. Tuna Altınel is an academic who has made significant contributions to the academia in universities abroad, primarily in France since 1996.

Altınel graduated from the Departments of Mathematics and Computer Science of Boğaziçi University in İstanbul. He completed his PhD studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey, with Cherlin as his doctoral advisor.

With Alexandre Borovik and Gregory Cherlin, he proved an important example of Cherlin-Zilber conjecture. Having published 26 articles in his field so far, Altınel is specialized in group theory and mathematical logic. (TP/SD)

 * When the curfew, which was in effect in Cizre in Turkey's southeastern province of Şırnak as of December 14, 2015, was lifted on March 2, 2016, 177 dead bodies, 25 of which belonged to children, were found in the wreckages and debris of mainly 3 buildings and the houses in their vicinity. While the 103 of the deceased could be identified, 74 people were put to rest without being identified. The total number of the dead has been announced as 189. According to the report of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), almost all of the dead bodies were beyond recognition because they were either burned or decomposed. The remnants of human bones and military ammunition were found in the basements. Forensic Experts also found remnants of human bones of children in the basements.