Imprisonment Without Suspension: A New Phase in the Trials
As the hearings of the peace academicans keep going on in various assize courts of Istanbul, an academician from Galatasaray University has been sentenced to 15 months of imprisonment. The court has stated the senteence will not be suspended as they have observed no expression of remorse in the statementss of the academic. The decision will be appealed to the senior divisional court and the mentioned academician might go in in prison in the case of an approval.
As the fifth month of the judgment process regarding the academics of peace approaches, 263 academics have been sued so far. 187 of them had their hearings held, 32 of them have appeared before the court more than once, the ones living abroad are becoming subjected to warrants of apprehension and 5 of them had their verdicts issued, all being found guilty. Among those five academicians, four of them have decided to employ the legal mechanism of “deferment of the announcement of the verdict”, which lets the court to not to announce the decision, and in the case that the defendant will not be found gıilty for another crime in a certain period, to foreclose the case (It should be noteed that the challenge about this mechanism is that, the qualification of the action as a crime will be officalized without any chance to apply to a higher court).
However, on the 4th of April, an academician from Galatasaray University had refused to employ this legal tool. In her/his trial, s/he had submitted her/his final plea though the lawyer. The lawyer has stated that, “The state has positive obligations regarding the freedom of thought and expression and it can in no way violate thiss right by limiting it. It is not possible in a democratic society to block all the means for criticizing the state. Now the court wants to give its decision even without analysing the reports we have submitted and referring to them. In that case, I will not request for any piece of justice because a sound decision should only rely on the proper anlysis of the defence pleas and reports”.
After the statement, the court has given its decision. And as the relevant academic has not chosen to apply for the deferment of the verdict, the court has declared the decision and sentenced the academician with 15 months of imprisonment. Additionaly, it has not applied the terms of suspension which postpones the execution and practically impedes any actual imprisonment. The ground for not postponing the decision has been stated as the “lack of any expression of remorse in the statements of the defendant”.
The academic will appeal to the superior divisional court and withou having any approval from there, s/he will have her sentence practially executed. However, the flow of the judgment process and attitudes of the courts in applying their subjective opinions on the final decisions reveals the nature of the judgments.