The Legal Harassment Continues: The Third Anniversary of the Press Statement of Academics For Peace’s Petition (January 11, 2019)
Below you can find a brief summary of the current figures in relation to the trials against signatories as of January 11, 2019. (The summary is prepared by the Academics for Peace solidarity group for trials)
Signatories are individually tried before 21 different assize courts (18 in Istanbul, 1 in Ankara, 1 in Diyarbakır and 1 in Eskişehir) with an indictment completely identical in content.
Number of signatories that are filed with a penal suit: 571
Number of the days spent in the Courthouse: 137
Number of court hearings held: 1080
Number of the verdicts: 130
Number of cases pending before the Court of Appeal: 7
The verdicts can be classified in 8 groups:
Group 1: Rejection of the venue- 5 Signatories.
Group 2: The current trial is withheld to wait for permission from the Minister of Justice to carry out the judgment on Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code**- 44 Signatories.
**According to Turkish legislation, an investigation (or a prosecution) under article 301 of The Turkish Penal Code (the crimes regarding the defamation of Turkish Nation, State of Turkish Republic, bodies and institutions of State) can be carried out only after the permission of The Minister of Justice. Therefore when a court considers that the offence is related to article 301, the court has to withhold the trial and ask for permission to continue.
Group 3: 15 months of imprisonment with DAV (deferment of the announcement of the verdict) – 69 Signatories
Group 4: 18 months and 22 days of imprisonment with DAV (reason for the increase in the penalty: successive offence)-1 Signatory
Group 5: 15 months of imprisonment (these signatories have refused the application of DAV, 2 of these punishments has been deferred by the judge – here, the difference is due to the different attitudes of the judges) – 7 Signatories
Group 6: 18 months of imprisonment (these signatories have refused the application of DAV, one of these has been deferred by the judge – again here the difference is due to the different attitudes of the judges) – 2 Signatories
Group 7: 27 months of imprisonment -1 Signatory
Group 8: 30 months of imprisonment -1 Signatory
All signatories in groups 3-8 are sentenced under Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Act for carrying out terrorist propaganda
Explanation of the terms:
1. DAV:If the accused is sentenced with imprisonment for a period shorter than 2 years, relying on the Penal Procedure Code, she/he is offered an option: the deferment of the announcement of the verdict, which enables the court not to announce the decision, the sentence will not be registered in his/her criminal record in the case that defendant will not be found guilty for another crime in a certain period, to foreclose the case. When the accused accepts this mechanism to be applied, then s(he) becomes deprived of the rights on appeal at the Court of Appeal (Istinaf) for the review of the verdict. However s(he) has the right to individual application to the Constitutional Court and ECtHR for the violation of her/his rights and freedoms.
The academics who have refused the application of DAV can appeal the verdict at the Court of Appeal. For the verdicts issued by the Assize Courts in Istanbul. Istanbul Regional Court of Justice is the competent court for the appeals. The cases will be reviewed by the same two criminal chambers of this Regional Court having competence on cases related to the Anti-Terror Act.
2. Deferral: In the case that the sentence is deferred, the accused will not be imprisoned. However the sentence will be logged in his/her criminal record. In that case, the accused has the right to appeal to the higher court as well as to apply to the Constitutional Court and ECtHR.
- Rejection of the venue: According to Turkish legislation the court of the place where the crime was committed has jurisdiction on the concerned case. The accused academics, when they signed the petition, were affiliated to the universities in different cities in Turkey. The legal disputes still continue on whether the courts in Istanbul and/or Ankara where the petition was made public on 11thof January 2016 or the courts at the locations of the affiliated universities of each signatory should have jurisdiction on the cases. Some courts ex officioor pursuing the objection of the jurisdiction raised by the accused academic ruled on the rejection of the venue.