Figen Albuga Çalıkuşu: The trial court’s ruling to release Ahmet Altan revoked based on made-up, unlawful grounds not listed in Criminal Procedure Code

 

Novelist and journalist Ahmet Altan’s lawyer Figen Albuga Çalıkuşu has objected to the rearrest of her client on 13 November 2019, eight days after he was released pending appeal on 4 November at the end of the retrial of his case.

Filing a petition on Wednesday with the 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul, which ordered Altan’s rearrest on Tuesday, Çalıkuşu asserted that the trial court that oversaw the retrial ruled to release Altan upon rendering its verdict and that therefore, as per Turkey’s Criminal Procedure Code (CMK), the prosecution cannot object to the release order.

Çalıkuşu wrote in her petition that the 26th High Criminal Court has definitively rendered its verdict in the case at the end of the retrial, which was ordered by the Supreme Court of Appeals, and that from that point onwards, higher courts were authorized with reviewing and/or ruling on the verdict. Stressing that the court that ruled for Ahmet Altan’s rearrest was a court of first instance, Çalıkuşu said the 27th High Criminal Court was not authorized to rule on the prosecutor’s objection to Altan’s release.

Presiding judge appointed to court the day before ruling

Stressing that the 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul refused to notify her of their ruling concerning Ahmet Altan’s rearrest on Tuesday but informed pro-government media outlets instead, Çalıkuşu asserted that the presiding judge of the 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul was appointed to the court only one day before they ruled for Altan’s rearrest.

Çalıkuşu also wrote that the 27th High Criminal Court’s ruling was based on false grounds that cannot be justified with the grounds for arrest listed in Article 100 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

She said that therefore, the presiding judge had no prior knowledge of the contents of the case file. Çalıkuşu said that however, the Supreme Court of Appeals has already reviewed and ruled on the case file and that the higher court’s ruling mentioned none of the grounds cited by the 27th High Criminal Court for Altan’s rearrest.

Çalıkuşu called on the court to revoke its ruling for Altan’s rearrest, saying that the trial court has already rendered its verdict as per the Supreme Court of Appeals judgment, which overturned the conviction against Altan in the original trial. She said the ruling for Altan’s rearrest was unlawful and arbitrary, and that the 27th High Criminal Court was usurping the authority of the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Regional Court of Justice, which are now authorized with reviewing the trial court’s verdict.

The English translation of lawyer Çalıkuşu’s objection can be accessed here.

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