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 yesterday (October 31).
13 academics had their hearings at two separate courts:
At the 36th Heavy Penal Court: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Esra Arsan, Dr. Lecturer Begüm Başdaş, Dr. Lecturer Z.Ç.Ç., Research Assistant Canan Erten from Bilgi University; Research Assistants Yasin Barış Göğüş and Kumru Çılgın and Prof. Dr. Ayşe Aslı from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (MSGSÜ); Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bülent Tanju from Yıldız Technical University (YTÜ); PhD student Dilek Çankaya from Ankara University; lecturer Saadet Sorgunlu and one academic had their first hearings.
At the İstanbul 26th Heavy Penal Court: Instructor Akın Tek from İstanbul Şehir University and PhD student from Michigan University Özgecan Korkmaz had their second hearings.
Arsan did not request suspension of the verdict
Academic Esra Arsan presented her statement of defense. Her attorney Fikret İlkiz requested additional time in order to make a statement at the next hearing regarding the documents that had been presented to the court.
After the board of the 36th Heavy Penal Court rejected the request of İlkiz, the Prosecutor's Office announced its opinion as to the accusations.
The office demanded that Arsan be penalized as per the Article no. 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law and be sentenced to up to 7 years and 6 months in prison.
After the office announced its opinion, Esra Arsan stated that she did not request that the announcement of the verdict be suspended.
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 31, 2018, 379 academics had stood trial since December 5, 2017. 33 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)
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