The İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court on Tuesday rejected a request to send a case to the Constitutional Court, scheduling April 18, 2018 as the date of the next hearing for founding president of the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) Professor Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Turkey Representative of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Erol Önderoğlu and writer Ahmet Aziz Nesin, Cumhuriyet daily reported.
The prosecutor has demanded prison sentences of between two and 14 years for all the journalists, academics and activists named in the indictment including Fincancı, Önderoğlu and Nesin, who participated in a campaign to show solidarity with the the Özgür Gündem daily, serving as “editors-in-chief on duty” for the newspaper, on charges that include disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization and praising the offense or the offender.
Speaking during Tuesday’s proceedings Önderoğlu expressed concern about what he witnessed at the hearing of journalist Ahmet Şık on Monday in an İstanbul court where the presiding judge halted the defense of Şık and ordered him removed for presenting a political defense.
Referring to Şık’s court incident, the TİHV’s Fincancı also expressed concern about the state of the judiciary.
Underlining that the case is against the constitution, lawyer Sanem Doğanoğlu asked the court to send the case to the Constitutional Court for the acquittal of her clients.
Rejecting the request, the court ruled to await execution of an arrest warrant for Nesin, who is abroad, scheduling the next hearing for April 18, 2018.
“One more time, a short hearing: next hearing set for 18 April, 10:50am. Stop this farce!” RSF said in reaction to the court decision.
Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the SCF has showed that 244 journalists and media workers are in jails as of December 26, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 217 are arrested pending trial, only 27 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 139 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.
Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. (SCF with turkishminute.com)