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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 today (November 6).
Eight academics had their hearings at four separate courts:
At the İstanbul 36th Heavy Penal Court, lecturer Biriz Berksoy, retired Assoc. Prof. Dr. İnci Özkan Kerestecioğlu and Prof. Dr. Tülay Erkan from İstanbul University had their third hearings.
At the İstanbul 27th Heavy Penal Court, Dr. Nevin Zeynep Yelçe and Prof. Dr. İlker Birbil had their first hearings.
At the İstanbul 28th Heavy Penal Court, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gülhan Balsoy had her second hearing; Dr. Yonca Güneş Yücel had her third hearing.
At the İstanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court, Dr. Sinem Aydınlı from Bahçeşehir University had her second hearing.
Same opinion as to accusations for 4 academics
At the 36th, 37th and 28th Heavy Penal Courts, the Prosecutor's Offices announced their opinions as to the accusations for academics Biriz Berksoy, İnci Özkan Kerestecioğlu, Gülhan Balsoy and Sinem Aydınlı.
The Prosecutor's Offices of all three courts demanded that the four academics be penalized as per the first and second sentences of the Article no. 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK).
Request for recusation rejected
At the 28th Heavy Penal Court, Yonca Güneş Yücel's attorney Meriç Eyüboğlu submitted a request for recusation (challenge/ rejection of judge) on the grounds that the court has already announced its verdict in the previous trials of academics and her client has been subjected to subjective practices, which is not the case in other trials.
The court board rejected the request of Eyüboğlu and sent the case file of Yücel to the upper court, the İstanbul 29th Heavy Penal Court. Her next hearing will be held on December 4, 2018.
Among the ones who followed the hearings held today were also Peoples' Democratic Party MPs Ali Kenanoğlu and Züleyha Gülüm.
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 November 6, 2018, 381 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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