Lawyer Veysel Ok and Journalist Cihan Acar Sentenced to 5 Months in Prison
Following a verdict of non-jurisdiction, the trial that previously lasted around two years started again. In his third hearing today (September 12), Ok appeared before the judge at the İstanbul 2nd Penal Court of First Instance. While Cihan did not attend it, his lawyer was present at court.
'I used my right to criticize as a lawyer'
In his statement of defense presented to the court, lawyer Ok said, "The interview done in the article in question is intended for purposes of criticizing the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. It is something expressed not only by me, but also by several professors specialized in the field.
"I used my right to criticize as a lawyer. I still hold the same opinion that the Judgeships of Peace, both in terms of their establishment and structure, are in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECtHR) and international norms."
5-month prison sentence for each
After the lawyers of the defendants presented their statements of defense, the court announced its judgement on Ok and Acar. The court ruled that they should be sentenced to six months in prison on charge of "publicly degrading the judicial bodies of the state" as per the Article 301/1 of the TCK.
Taking the behavior of the defendants during the judicial process into consideration, the court has reduced the prison terms of both Ok and Acar by one sixth, thereby sentencing them to five months in prison. The announcement of both verdicts has been suspended.
24 October 2018:
Prison Sentences of Journalists Aksoy, Taş Upheld
The sentences of prison, which were previously given to 26 people, including journalists Murat Aksoy and Atilla Taş, who were released in October 2017, on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization" and "attempting to stage a coup", have been upheld.
The 2nd Penal Chamber of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice (BAM) announced its verdict, where it had evaluated the requests for appeal, on October 22. The court ruled that the arrest of imprisoned defendants shall continue and rejected their requests for appeal with prejudice.
The prison sentences previously given to journalists Atilla Taş and Murat Aksoy have become definitive since that they are less than five years.
The 2nd Penal Chamber of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice (BAM) rejected the requests for appeal raised by defendants including Abdullah Kılıç, Ahmet Memiş, Ali Akkuş, Bayram Kaya, Bünyamin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cihan Acar, Cuma Ulus, Davut Aydın, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Habip Güler, Halil İbrahim Balta, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Hüseyin Aydın, Muhammet Sait Kuloğlu, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Mutlu Çölgeçen, Oğuz Usluer and Ünal Tanık.
The court also ruled for the continuation of their arrest.
The court board of the İstanbul 25th Heavy Penal Court had previously ruled that the files of fugitive defendants Bülent Ceyhan and Said Sefa shall be separated since the arrest warrants issued against them had not been executed. The board also ruled that Muhterem Tanık shall be acquitted of the charge of "being a member of an armed terrorist organization".
In the verdict of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice, it was stated that the evidence in the case file was sound and sufficient for conviction and the ruling of the local court complied with the law.
As part of this lawsuit, journalists were arrested again shortly after a verdict of release was issued for them.
On August 30, 2016, İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's office issued a detention order for 35 people, including several academics and journalists, as part of the investigation against FETÖ following the coup attempt on July 15. 27 of the 35 detainees were later arrested.
The state-run Anadolu News Agency reported on the detention order for the journalists and writers with the headline "Operation against the media organization of FETÖ".
In the trial which was called "Media Organization" as part of the "Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/ Parallel State Organization/ FETÖ", 29 people were put on trial on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization" and "attempting to stage a coup".
A lawsuit was filed against the journalists on the stated charges at İstanbul 25th Heavy Penal Court, which gave its verdict on October 24, 2017.
As per the verdict of the court, 23 defendants were sentenced to 6years and three months to seven years and six months in prison on charge of "being members of an armed terrorist organization".
Facing the charge of "aiding an armed terrorist organization", defendant Atilla Taş was sentenced to 3 years, 1 month and 15 days in prison while Murat Aksoy was sentenced to 2 years and 1 month in prison. (EMK/SD) Source
Police in Istanbul also immediately rearrested journalists Yakup Çetin, Bünyamin Köseli, Oğuz Usluer, Ali Akkuş, Atilla Taş, Cihan Acar, Abdullah Kılıç, Hüseyin Aydın, Murat Aksoy, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Seyid Kılıç, and Yetkin Yıldız after their release on April 1, but on new charges of "attempting to overthrow the constitutional order" and "attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey or preventing it from doing its duty." Their trial on terrorism charges will continue, and they are currently detained for seven days of questioning on the new charges.