Hasan Cemal reads his defense statement during the first hearing of the case

The first hearing in a case where P24 Founding President and T24 columnist Hasan Cemal is on second trial for spreading “propaganda for a terrorist organization” was held on January 18 at the Istanbul 24th high Criminal Court.

The retrial concerns a series of news reports Hasan Cemal penned in 2013 in which he recounted the PKK’s withdrawal from Turkey as part of the “Peace Process.”

A court case on charges of spreading “propaganda for an armed terrorist organization,” seeking 13 years in prison for Hasan Cemal, was opened years after the series’ publication. The first hearing of that case was held on March 9, 2017 at the Istanbul 24th High Criminal Court, which acquitted Cemal at the end of the trial. However, the 2nd Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice reversed the judgment and sent the case file back to the 24th High Criminal Court.

Appearing at Thursday’s hearing with his lawyer Fikret İlkiz, Hasan Cemal  read his defense statement, in which he said: “I am here because I defended peace. I am here because I disapprove of terror and violence; because I refuse to live a lie.” Cemal then presented to the court his defense statement in the previous case, at the end of which he was acquitted.

In his statement, Cemal said: “I refuse to live a lie and I declare once more that the regime in Turkey that forces people today to live in a lie has nothing to do with the rule of law and liberty; in short, with democracy. I have no doubt that at long last, those who choose to live in the truth, not in a lie, those who defend liberty, will prevail.”

The prosecutor reiterated his previous request of up to 13 years in prison for Hasan Cemal. Following the prosecutor’s opinion, the lawyer İlkiz requested additional time for the defense. The trial was adjourned to April 3, 2018.

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