Member of Turkish Court of Cassation in jail for 16 months due to false ByLock record

Ali Yıldız, a senior judge and a dismissed member of Turkey’s Court of Cassation, has been kept in jail for 16 months due to false ByLock record, reported Brussels-based online news portal TR724.

The judicial oppression of the Turkish government which first dismissed thousands of judges and prosecutors and had later imprisoned them in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 continues. It has emerged during in a trial of supreme court judges pending in Ankara on Tuesday  that a member of the Court of Cassation has been kept in prison for 16 months on ground of someone else’s records due to the similarity of names, despite the fact that he did not use Bylock.

Ali Yıldız, a former member of the Court of Cassation, appeared before before the 9th Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation. The Court of Cassation Public Prosecutor read out the summary of the indictment about the suspect at the hearing. The talks that Yıldız had with his colleagues prior to the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) election were narrated as meeting of a “terror organisation.”

Rejecting the accusations against him, Yıldız told that he did not depart from the law in his 26 years of professional life and that he was elected as a member of Court of Cassation in 2011 while he was working as Chief Inspector at the HSYK. Stating that he had no connection with the coup attempt which he strongly condemns, Yıldız said that “Those who attacked the country must be certainly punished.”

Denying the determination in the indictment for his alleged use of Bylock, the suspect Ali Yıldız stated that he never downloaded or used such a program and that he saw the screen shot of the program for the first time in newspapers.

Turkish authorities believe that ByLock is a communication tool among the alleged followers of the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and even housewives, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The Court of Cassation member Yıldız told about the Bylock slander as follows:

“Being elected as a member of the Court of Cassation, gathering with my colleagues and being the subject of ByLock messages of persons whom I do not know, cannot be an evidence for the membership of a terrorist organisation. These conducts have been put to prove as if I have committed crimes by means of unjust and unlawful evidence. The allegation that I have used ByLock is completely unreal. There is another Ali Yıldız who is determined to be working in İstanbul. The records relating to him have got into the file. The ByLock minutes of another Ali Yıldız have been placed in my file.”

It is alleged in the indictment that Yıldız entered this program 137 times from his mobile phone. Yıldız said that he wants to examine these records which have been newly submitted to the file.

Ali Yıldız, who stated that the HTS records concerning the telephone conversations he had with a dental doctor to whom they visited for treatment as a family have also got into the file as evidence, pointed out that this dental doctor is referred to as a “pastor” in the indictment.

Submitting that the trial against him has been filed by unauthorised organs with unlawful and abstract evidence, Yıldız maintained that he was seconded at the 20th Civil Chamber of the Court of Cassation dealing with forestry cadastre after being elected as a member and would not have any connection with the decisions which are alleged to be the subject matter of the crime.

Yıldız remarked that he would not have any conduct which may be the subject matter of a crime before and after the July 15 coup attempt.

The suspect Ali Yıldız refused the witness statements of the former HSYK Deputy President Ahmet Hamsici, the former HSYK members Kerim Tosun, İbrahim Okur, the former Ministry of Justice Undersecretary Birol Erdem and the former Court of Cassation Member İlhami Dal, which alleged that “He was a FETÖ member and hence elected as a member of the Court of Cassation.”

“FETÖ” is a derogatory term coined by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) under the rule of Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to refer to the Gülen movement.

Yıldız, who conveys that these persons are also being suspects with the accusation of membership to “FETÖ,” stated that “They have made these statements to save themselves. It is absolutely out of question that I back up any group or person. I refuse the abstract allegations of those persons who make statements about me.”

It is expressed in the letter received from the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) that Yıldız had an account opened in 2007 and closed in 2012 at Bank Asya. Ali Yıldız stated that the account was opened for the credit obtained for the cooperative of which he is a member and was closed after the debt was paid back.

The court panel issued its interim decision after the break. Refusing Yıldız’s request for his release, the panel decided to hear the former HSYK Deputy President Ahmet Hamsici, the former HSYK members Kerim Tosun, İbrahim Okur, the former Ministry of Justice Undersecretary Birol Erdem and the former Court of Cassation Member İlhami Dal as witness. The next hearing has been scheduled for February  12, 2018.

According to Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül, who briefed lawmakers in the Planning and Budget Commission on Nov. 23, 2017, the government has purged 3,945 judges and prosecutors since July 15, 2016. The Justice Ministry dismissed 5,813 employees in total in the same period.

It immediately hired 4,653 judges and prosecutors without any training; most were lawyers who were members of Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Gül said 3,566 candidate judges and prosecutors who are waiting to be appointed to benches and offices would start their jobs before year’s end. He also admitted that the much-criticized practice of hiring lawyers as judges and prosecutors would stop and that they would now focus on training and education.

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