İstanbul - BIA News Desk22 May 2019, Wednesday 09:14
The final hearing of the case, where the columnists and executives of the closed Özgür Gündem newspaper were tried for "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" and "openly inciting to commit crime", was held at the İstanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court yesterday (May 21).
The court has ruled Ayşe Batumlu and Reyhan Hacıoğlu shall be each sentenced to 1 year, 3 months; Eren Keskin and Reyhan Çapan to 3 years, 9 months; Hüseyin Aykol to 2 years, 1 month; Hüseyin Güçlü and Tahir Temel to 1 year, 6 months in prison for "terror propaganda."
The prison sentences of Reyhan Hacıoğlu and Ayşe Batumlu have been deferred as per the Article 51/1 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).
The court has also ruled that the case files of Filiz Koçali, Enver Baysal, Hasan Başak, İhsan Yorulmaz, Muzaffer Ayata, Serbest Zan and Züleyha Yılmaz shall be separated on the ground that the warrants against them cannot be executed and their testimonies have not been taken.
As for the defendants Ayşe Berktay, Celalettin Can, Cemal Bozkurt, Çetin Ulu, Nuray Özdoğan, Emrullah Kurcan, Ergin Atabey and Özlem Söyler, they have been acquitted of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization." The charges brought against Bülent Alp have been dropped as the statute of limitations has been violated as per the Press Law.
Excuse of Hacıoğlu not accepted
Eren Keskin and Reyhan Çapan, two of the 23 defendants tried in the case, and Özcan Kılıç and Sercan Korkmaz, the attorneys of the defendants, attended the final hearing. The hearing was also followed by representatives from the Embassy of Ireland.
The petition of Reyhan Hacıoğlu, who stated that she could not attend the hearing due to her hunger strike, was rejected by the court board on the ground that it was the final hearing of the case.
Keskin: I don't believe I committed a crime
The prosecutor of the hearing indicated that he repeated his opinion as to the accusations that he presented in the hearing dated October 26, 2017.
Presenting her statement of defense as to the accusations, Eren Keskin stated the following:
"I support freedom of thought and expression. I became the editor-in-chief because I supported the freedom of publishing. I do not believe that I committed a crime. I do not believe that thought is a crime, either. I request my acquittal."
Reyhan Çapan also indicated that she did not commit any crime and demanded her acquittal.
Prison sentence for 7 people
Announcing its judgement, the court has ruled that seven people shall be sentenced to prison and prison sentences of Hacıoğlu and Batumlu shall be deferred on the ground of "their verdicts of conviction that have not yet become definite and their attitude and behavior during the hearing."
As the warrants against seven defendants have not been executed, their files have been separated. The case of one defendant has dropped due to statute of limitations. The court has ruled for the acquittal of eight people.