In the trial of lawyers from the Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) and People’s Law Bureau (HHB), the prosecutor pronounced his opinion as to the accusations at the hearing yesterday (November 17).
As reported by bianet a day before, prosecutor Haluk Tunç demanded that all lawyers who stand before the judge in the merged case be penalized on charges of “leading a [terrorist / illegal] organization”, “membership of the organization” or “propagandizing for the organization.”
At the hearing held in Silivri Penal Institution’s campus in İstanbul yesterday, the lawyers protested the prosecutor’s opinion and requested the extension of the prosecution. However, the court board accepted the opinion and gave time to the lawyers for their last statements of defense.
The next hearing will be held on January 5-6-7, 2022.
‘Judge switched courts together with witness’
As reported by the ÇHD Central Office, lawyer Hasan Fehmi Demir took the floor first at the hearing and stated that there are several indications raising suspicions that there is a “heavy pressure” on the İstanbul 37th High Criminal Court, which gave the first ruling:
“The İstanbul 37th High Criminal Court’s presiding judge heard the witness named İsmet Özdemir though there is no such a request in the file and he does not have any connection with it. Then, we understood that the presiding judge had interrogated this person when he was on duty at the İstanbul 29th High Criminal Court and at the Criminal Judgeship of Peace before.”
‘No prosecutor’s opinion possible at this stage’
Taking the floor afterwards, lawyer Oğuzhan Topalkara indicated that there was an undue procedure in the prosecutor’s final opinion as to the accusations. “Only if the prosecutor of the hearing is still of the same opinion after our requests for extending the prosecution, he can pronounce the opinion as to the accusations,” said the lawyer and briefly added:
“And we can only demand additional time in that case. No prosecutor’s final opinion can be presented at this stage.
“The trial has been going on for seven years. There are witnesses who make serious statements about the defendants in the file; it was mentioned in the prosecutor’s opinion, but no witness has so far been heard before your court. We first request that these witnesses be heard.
“The prosecutor who lodged the indictment of this case has been convicted in a FETÖ/PDY [held responsible for the coup attempt in 2016] case and sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment. You are holding the trial based on the indictment lodged by a criminal.”
‘İ.Ö. is a support intelligence officer’
Lawyer Several Ballıkaya referred to the condition of the witness: “The witness named İsmet Özdemir was arrested in 2007, but he was taken out of prison and it was ensured that he participated in various actions. In the document sent by the İstanbul Security Directorate to the 27th High Criminal Court, it is understood that he works as a support intelligence officer.”
The lawyer added, “When you hear his own story, it is a grave picture. He says, ‘I was sleeping on the streets, my dad would beat me all the time. I met intelligence officers around the Seyrantepe Police Lodgings.’ İsmet Özdemir says that he recorded all meetings with Ebru Timtik with a hidden camera. The security then should bring this camera footage.”
After the statements of defendants-lawyers Selçuk Kozağaçlı and Barkın Timtik, the court board handed down its interim judgement and ruled that all defendants should remain behind bars in the ÇHD case.
In the trial of lawyers from the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), the court announced its ruling on March 20, 2019 and gave prison sentences ranging from 18 years, 9 months to 3 years, 1 month, 15 days. The 2nd Penal Chamber of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice rejected the objections in October 2019 and sent the file to the Court of Cassation.
The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Court of Cassation expressed the opinion that over 159-year prison sentences of all lawyers, except for the one given to lawyer Barkın Timtik, be upheld.
The letter of notification only indicated that the prison sentence of 18 years, 9 months given to Barkın Timtik for “establishing and leading an organization” as per the Article 314/1 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) should be overturned and he should also be penalized for “membership of an organization” like other lawyers.
The letter of notification issued by the prosecutor’s office was sent to the 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation.
ÇHD executive lawyer Ebru Timtik and ÇHD member lawyer Aytaç Ünsal went on a death fast in prison for their right to a fair trial. They were referred to hospital on July 30, 2020. Timtik lost her life on August 27 on the 238th day of her death fast. Ünsal ended his fast, he is now in treatment.
The Court of Cassation upheld all sentences, except for the ones given to lawyers Barkın Timtik, Selçuk Kozağaçlı and Ezgi Çakır.
Prison sentences upheld by the Court of Cassation on September 15, 2020:
Özgür Yılmaz: 13 years, 6 months
Behiç Aşçı: 12 years
Şükriye Erden: 12 years
Engin Gökoğlu: 10 years, 6 months
Aytaç Ünsal: 10 years, 6 months
Süleyman Gökten: 10 years, 6 months
Ayçan Çiçek: 9 years
Naciye Demir: 9 years
The merged case is still ongoing and the defendants against whom there is no final court ruling are still on trial. Barkın Timtik, Oya Aslan, Özgür Yılmaz and Selçuk Kozağaçlı are arrested.