The 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice will hear the Altans-Ilıcak case on 21 September 

 

The appeal process for the case where imprisoned novelist and journalist Ahmet Altan, his brother, longtime columnist and professor of economics Mehmet Altan, and veteran journalist Nazlı Ilıcak were convicted in February of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” is getting under way later this week in Istanbul.

The 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice, an appellate court, will hear the case on 21 September. The hearing concerns the evaluation of the evidence in the case file.

On 16 February 2018, the 26th High Criminal Court of Istanbul convicted six of the seven defendants in the case of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and sentenced all six to aggravated life imprisonment.

Along with the Altan brothers and Ilıcak, their co-defendants in the case — Fevzi Yazıcı, the visual director of the shuttered Zaman daily, the newspaper’s marketing director Yakup Şimşek, and former Police academy lecturer Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül — will appear before the 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice for Friday’s appeal hearing.

Two witnesses who testified against the defendants but were not heard by the trial court in the courtroom, Nurettin Veren and a secret witness who goes by the alias “Söğüt,” are also expected to testify before the appellate court.

The 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice had issued its ruling concerning the commencement of the appeal process on 27 June 2018. 

In that ruling, the appellate court had also ruled for Mehmet Altan’s release from prison as per the Constitutional Court’s 11 January 2018 ruling in favor of Altan, which held that his pretrial detention was in violation of his rights to personal liberty and security and freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

In the same ruling, the Chamber had ordered the continuation of the detentions of Ahmet Altan, Ilıcak, Yazıcı, Şimşek and Özşengül pending the appeal process.

The “Altans and Ilıcak trial” is one of the first major journalist trials to be heard by a Regional Court, second-level appellate courts introduced to the Turkish judicial system in July 2016.

As of 17 September 2018, Ahmet Altan has been in prison for 723 days, and Ilıcak for 777 days as part of the trial. Mehmet Altan spent 644 days in prison as part of the case.

A statement by Mehmet Altan’s lawyer, explaining the Regional Court of Justice process, can be accessed here.