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Academics Asst. Prof. Dr. Esra Mungan, Asst. Prof. Dr. Muzaffer Kaya, Assoc. Prof. Dr Kıvanç Ersoy and Asst. Prof. Dr. Meral Camcı standing trial for having signed the peace declaration "We will not be a party to this crime", had the sixth hearing of their trial today (December 26, 2017) before İstanbul 13th Assize Court. The hearing has been adjourned to April 18, 2018.
The four academics were first charged for "terror propaganda" under Article 7/2 of the Turkish Anti-Terror Act. In the first hearing of their trial, the prosecution demanded, that the four academics be tried under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (insulting Turkey, the Turkish nation, or Turkish government institutions). An authorization from the Ministry of Justice was pending regarding the prosecution's request.
In the sixth hearing held today, the attorneys representing the four academics stated that they assumed that the authorization had already been granted and demanded that the court question whether a response from the Ministry had arrived.
The board of judges was changed in today's hearing. It was determined that the request of the academics to be tried under Article 301 was still pending before the Ministry of Justice.
The court has adjourned the hearing to April 18, 2018.
Observers of the trial:
Representatives from the Academics for Peace and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MP Garo Paylan were in the courtroom to observe the hearing among others.
Board of judges:
Chief Judge: Fahrettin Düzalan.
Members of board of judges: Kadir Karakoç, Dr. Abdullah Ok.
Prosecutor: Asım Ekren.
On January 10, 2016, the Peace Declaration of the Academics "We will not be a party to this crime" was shared with the public in a press conference. 1,128 academics from 89 universities as well as over 355 academics and researchers from abroad had signed the peace declaration.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Esra Mungan (Boğaziçi University), Asst. Prof. Dr. Muzaffer Kaya (Nişantaşı University), Assoc. Prof. Dr Kıvanç Ersoy (Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University) and Asst. Prof. Dr. Meral Camcı (İstanbul Yeni Yüzyıl University) were among the signees of the declaration.
They were discharged from their positions
Following a disciplinary investigation launched by İstanbul Yeni Yüzyıl University, Asst. Prof. Dr. Meral Camcı was discharged from her position at the university for having signed the peace declaration.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Muzaffer Kaya was also among the six academics who their contracts terminated by the Nişantaşı Univeresity for having signed the peace declaration.
They repeated their demand of peace in a press statement
On March 10, 2016, the four academics read out the press statement at a press conference that was was held on behalf of the Academics for Peace/İstanbul group regarding the developments which had occurred since the declaration was first shared with the public. In their statement, the academics noted that the prosecutor's office took action without determining which crimes were allegedly committed and added that they insisted on their demand of peace.
They were arrested
On March 14, 2016, an arrest warrant was issued for the four academics and their houses were raided by police. All three academics except Meral Camcı, who was abroad at the moment, appeared at the police station on their own will.
On March 15, 2016, they were brought before court and were arrested on the charge of "terror propaganda" for having signed the peace declaration of "We will not be a party to this crime".
Meral Camcı, who was also subjected to an arrest warrant and was abroad at the moment, returned to Turkey saying "I will stand by my words of peace and continue to fight". She appeared before the police on her own will as well and was arrested on March 31.
They were released in first hearing
The first hearing of the academics were held on April 22, 2016.
Initially charged with "terror propaganda" under Article 7/2 of the Turkish Anti-Terror Act, the prosecutor of the trial changed the charges pressed against the academics to the crimes regulated under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (insulting Turkey, the Turkish nation, or Turkish government institutions) and requested that the trial be frozen and to wait for an authorization to be granted by Minister of Justice to hold the trial under the new article.
The court has decided that the four academics be released considering the time already served in prison and on the grounds that their statatements of defence were already taken, and that existing evidence was already gathered.
Court ruled stay of proceedings
In addition, the court ordered stay of proceedings for the case that the trial might continue under Article 301 and ruled that the case file be referred to the Chief Prosecutor's Office to request an authorization from the Ministry of Justice to continue the trial under this new article.
In the next five months that have passed after the first hearing, the Ministry of Justice stated that the prosecutor's office did not mention any reason for their request and therefore remitted the case to the court.
On September 27, 2016, the second hearing in the trial was held. The court decided to wait for a response by the Ministry regarding the request to continue the trial under Article 301 and the trial was suspended.
In the next hearings held on December 22, 2016, March 30, 2017 and July 18, 2017, the court rejected the attorneys' remand of acquittal and decided to wait for a response from the Ministry of Justice.
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