The Court of Cassation has started examining the file of the case where lawyers from the Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) stood trial. Their colleagues from Turkey and 20 other countries have requested their release with 756 petitions.

The 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation has started examining the file of the case where lawyers from the Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) and People’s Law Bureau (HHB) stood trial.

Before the finalized judgement is handed in the case, 400 lawyers from Turkey have submitted petitions to the Court of Cassation, requesting the reversal of the judgement and the release of arrested lawyers.

In addition to these 400 petitions, 356 lawyers from 20 countries have also addressed petitions in four languages to the supreme court and requested the acquittal of their colleagues prosecuted and arrested in Turkey. Among the signatories of these petitions are also several bar association chairs and representatives from legal organizations.

All 756 petitions were submitted to the 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation for examination today (June 1). The petitions have been sent from the following countries: The US, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bulgaria, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Haiti, India, the UK, Spain, Italy, Japan, Catalonia, Lebanon, Poland, Romania and Togo.

Two lawyers on death fast for fair trial

In the file of the case against 19 lawyers, eight of them are arrested pending trial: Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Bahiç Aşçı, Barkın Timtik, Ebru Timtik, Oya Aslan, Engin Gökoğlu, Aycan Çiçek, Aytaç Ünsal.

Held in Silivri Prison in İstanbul, Ebru Timtik has been on a death fast for 151 days for the right to a fair trial. Arrested in Burhaniye Type T Prison in Balıkesir, Aytaç Ünsal has also been on a death fast for 120 days.

‘Trial took place before the eyes of whole world’

In the cover letter submitted to the Court of Cassation today, the attorneys of the defendants have requested the release of arrested lawyers and the reversal of the prison sentences given as part of the trial. They have also submitted the petitions coming from abroad:

“This trial took place before the eyes of the whole world, the legal community in all parts of the world has been closely following the developments in this file and knows even a tiny detail about the case.

“In several universities, conferences and workshops abroad, this case is – unfortunately – cited as an example of how the right to a fair trial is violated, articles are written on this case within this context.

“It is not surprising because every single hearing of this trial was attended by dozens of legists from abroad as observers, who witnessed all violations in person, including how our colleagues’ right of defense was restricted.

“We reiterate all requests raised in the 356 petitions that we submit and demand that your court reverse the judgement immediately and rule for the release of our colleagues, as required by the right to a fair trial as well as the domestic and international legislation.”

What happened?

Announcing its verdict in the lawsuit filed against ÇHD lawyers on March 20, the court ruled that the lawyers should be sentenced to 3 years, 1 month, 15 days to 18 years, 9 months in prison.

The 2nd Penal Chamber of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice rejected the objections and sent the file to the Court of Cassation.

CLICK – Judge First Upheld the Sentence, Then Examined the File

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Court of Cassation expressed opinion that the 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 has been sent to the 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation.

Lawyer Ebru Timtik, an executive of the ÇHD, and lawyer Aytaç Ünsal, a member of the ÇHD, have gone on a death fast for the right to a fair trial.

Bianet English – 01.06.2020

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