100th Day….We want justice
10 columnists and directors from our newspaper are deprived of their freedom for last 100 days due to the allegations from their columns or the news they reported.
It has been 100 days since our 10 columnists and directors got taken into custody as a result of an ongoing investigation carried out by the prosecutor Murat İnam who is accused of being a member to FETO and of assisting PKK/KCK terrorist organizations. Our friends are experiencing “aggravated detention” because the prosecutor, who put the news and columns as evidence in the file, did not prepare the indictment. Peace Criminal Court at Istanbul who refused to release our friends has been providing non-concrete excuses by repeating legal statements in its decision making. Our editor-in-chief, Murat Sabuncu, the director for our Books section, Turhan Gunay, the editorial adviser and editor Kadri Gürsel, the correspondent Güray Öz, the cartoonist Musa Kart, the columnist Hakan Kara, the attorneys Bülent Utku and Mustafa Kemal Güngör, our executive officer Önder Çelik were taken into custody on 5th November while our Chief Executive Officer Akin Atalay on 12th November. These efforts to silence our voice were regarded as an attempt to shut down the freedom of speech and press by international and national press organizations. Prosecutor Mustafa Çakar at 9th Peace Criminal Court of Istanbul has based his decision to sentence our 9 columnists and directors on a subjective report prepared by an unknown source, on the witness accounts and columns by Alev Coşkun and some columnists from Aydınlık newspaper, on a tweet by CHP MP Mustafa Balbay and on a column by Oray Eğin.
Unauthorized, copy decisions
An indictment yet to be prepared is reflected in the decisions of Peace Criminal Court either as a copy of arrest warrant or excuses such as the risk of escaping from the country and the incompleteness of evidence collection. On 18th November, the prosecutor, Necmettin Kafalı at 10th Peace Criminal Court of Istanbul put forth the very same arrest warrant as a reason for his decision making to reject the first objection to the sentencing of our 10 columnists and directors. On 2nd December, the prosecutor Ersin Öztürk of 7th Peace Criminal Court sufficed with a copy of the same arrest warrant when he rejected the request for their release. When an objection to this decision was submitted to 8th Peace Criminal Court, the prosecutor Atila Öztürk claimed that the social media posts and sharing by our columnists and directors are considered as potential criminal act since they are in favor of FETO/PDY. During a monthly review of Akın Atalay’s sentence on 12th December, 6th Peace Criminal Court’s prosecutor Tuncay Çakır did not specify any specific details although he claimed the presence of concrete evidence for the continuation of the sentence. He offered “the presence of solid evidence, evoking the suspicions the suspect might escape or hide” regarding Akın Atalay. As a follow-up objection to this decision at 7th Peace Criminal Court, the prosecutor Ersin Öztürk only stated that the objection was inadequate and not in right place. On 30th December, 12th Peace Criminal Court prosecutor Ömer Harun Özbek in his decision for the continuation of the sentencing outlined only legal statements. During an investigation to the objection to the decision above, the prosecutor Utku Ercan at 13th Peace Criminal Court concluded his rejection, based on the absence of any concrete evidence to change the original sentencing decision. With this latest decision, it became clear that a solid evidence was required to release them rather than to sentence. The last monthly review was carried out by the prosecutor Ömer Harun Özbek on 30th January. Özbek decided on the favor of the continuation of the sentence by claiming that the evidence is yet to be collected. When the prosecutor Utku Ercan was investigating the objection made to Özbek’s decision, he copied his previous decision line by line, rejecting the objection as “no solid evidence was brought to the court to change the sentencing decision…”
Waiting for the start of lawsuit
Our columnists and director can meet with their families and attorneys for only an hour a week. These meetings are recorded as audio and video while taking place with escorts. They stay in wards, accommodating only three people and not being able to see others in different wards. They are waiting for the start of lawsuit while receiving or sending any mail is prohibited under aggravated detention rules.
WHattı from Cumhuriyet