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Three academics who were charged with "terrorist organization propaganda" for signing Academics for Peace's declaration "We will not be party to this crime" had their first hearings today (March 1) at the 37th Heavy Penal Court in Istanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan.
Research associates from Istanbul University, F.K.Ö. and Egemen Kepekçi, as well as Asst. Prof. Dr. Hediye Esra Arcan were present at the courtroom.
Attorneys' requests for immediate acquittal and consolidation of the cases were denied. Granting adjournment for defense, the panel of judges decided for all three hearings to continue on October 4.
The attorneys also requested the case file from the ongoing trial of four academics at 13th Heavy Penal Court be retrieved. The court ruled to request the bill of indictment, the minutes, and the writ regarding Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code sent to the Justice Ministry along with the response received.
The court stated that the academics were being given extra time for the last time, and that legal consequences will apply should they not attend the second hearing.
Trials against signatory academics began December 5, 2017. By March 1, 136 people have had their first hearings, and 30 of these have had their second. Three academics have been given 1 year 3 month prison sentences, which were reprieved.
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.
On March 10, 2016, Asst. Prof. Dr. Esra Mungan, Asst. Prof. Dr. Muzaffer Kaya, Assoc. Prof. Dr Kıvanç Ersoy and Asst. Prof. Dr. Meral Camcı read out the press statement at a press conference that was was held on behalf of the Academics for Peace/Istanbul group regarding the developments which had occurred since the declaration was first shared with the public.
The first three of these academics were arrested on the charge of "terrorist propaganda" on March 15, 2016, and the last, Camcı, who was abroad at the time, was arrested on March 31 when she returned to Turkey. The four academics were released on April 22, 2016 upon their first hearing, in which 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 applied for authorization from the Ministry of Justice to hold the trial under the new article.
Another bill of indictment was prepared in October 2017 regarding at least 148 academics who signed the declaration. The academics were charged with "terrorist organization propaganda" under Article 7/2 of the Turkish Anti-Terror Act (#3713) in the bill of indictment prepared by Prosecutor İsmet Bozkurt. The first hearings were held on December 5, 2017.
By March 1, 2018, 136 defendants have had their first hearings, and 30 of these have also had their second. Three academics were sentenced to 1 year 3 months in prison and the sentences reprieved. (TP/PU)
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