Lawyer Çalıkuşu will be filing daily petitions with the 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice for Ahmet Altan’s release 

The lawyer representing jailed novelist and journalist Ahmet Altan has launched a campaign in which she will be filing a petition with the 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice every day, seeking her client’s immediate release. Lawyer Figen Albuga Çalıkuşu said she will be filing a petition with the appellate court every day so that the high court redresses the judicial scandal caused by Altan’s rearrest in November.

At the end of the retrial of the Altans case on 4 November 2019, the trial court (26th High Criminal Court of Istanbul) sentenced Ahmet Altan to 10 years and 6 months in prison on the charge of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” and ruled to release him, taking into consideration the time he spent in pre-trial detention. However, eight days after his release, on 13 November, Altan was rearrested by the 28th High Criminal Court of Istanbul and sent to Silivri Prison based on the prosecutor’s objection to his release.

On 31 December 2019, the case file was sent to the 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice, the appellate court that will be reviewing the verdict in the retrial. As soon as the 2nd Criminal Chamber received the case file, Altan’s lawyer Çalıkuşu filed a petition with the appellate court, requesting her client’s immediate release. Çalıkuşu asserted in her petition that Altan’s rearrest despite the trial court’s verdict and its ruling to release him severely violated the rule of law.

Asking the appellate court to redress the unlawfulness caused by Altan’s rearrest, Çalıkuşu explained in her petition that, according to law, a prosecutor can “object to” interim decisions, but not to a verdict by a trial court, which can only be reviewed by higher courts. Çalıkuşu asserted in the petition that Altan’s rearrest also violated the prohibition of reformatio in peius.

Also stressing that the ongoing appeal process could yield an outcome in favor of her client based on the recent amendment introduced in Article 7 of the Law on the Fight Against Terrorism (TMK), Çalıkuşu wrote: “[The authorities] violated the Constitution just so they could rearrest Ahmet Altan.”

The 27th and 28th High Criminal Courts of Istanbul, the next courts of first instance that ordered Altan’s rearrest after the trial court ruled for his release, usurped the authority of both the Regional Court of Justice and the Supreme Court of Appeals, Çalıkuşu wrote, calling this an abuse of power.

The full text of Çalıkuşu’s petition (in Turkish) can be accessed here.

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