Istanbul 27th and 14th High Criminal courts reject petitions by lawyers of Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay demanding the implementation of the Constitutional Court judgment
The Istanbul 27th High Criminal Court on January 15 rejected an appeal by imprisoned journalist Mehmet Altan’s lawyers, ruling for continued detention for Altan. The Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court followed suit a few hours later, rejecting the appeal by Şahin Alpay’s lawyers.
The Constitutional Court on January 11 had rendered its ruling regarding the individual applications of imprisoned journalists Altan and Alpay and the previously released Turhan Günay, the editor of Cumhuriyet Kitap.
In its judgment, the top court had found that the journalists’ rights had been violated by reason of their detention. However, the 26th High Criminal Court, where Altan is on trial, refused to release Altan on grounds that it has not been formally notified of the Constitutional Court’s reasoned judgment.
Altan’s lawyers Ergin Cinmen and Figen Albuga Çalıkuşu appealed that ruling, and the ruling was referred to the Istanbul 27th High Criminal Court, the next court of instance with the authority to review the decision.
The 27th High Criminal Court said that the 26th High Criminal Court’s continuation of detention order was lawful regarding procedure and law.
The 27th High Criminal Court stated in its ruling on January 15 that judgments rendered by the Constitutional Court to be published in the Official Gazette was a requisite and explained that it was understood that the 26th High Criminal Court’s review of detention was based on this prerequisite.
The judgment was rendered with the dissenting opinion of one of the judges on the three-member panel. Judge Halit İçdemir’s dissenting opinion read: “Although erroneous practices by the Constitutional Court may be criticized, this does not stand as an nullify the binding nature of its judgments. There is no legal benefit in waiting for the reasoned judgment of the Constitutional Court. Eventually, the Constitutional Court’s rulings are binding for everyone and final.”
The full text of the Istanbul 27th High Criminal Court’s decision can be found here.
Şahin Alpay’s appeal also rejected
Soon after the Istanbul 27th High Criminal Court’s ruling on January 15, the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court also rejected the appeal by Şahin Alpay’s lawyers.
The court, in response to an objection filed by Alpay’s lawyer Aynur Tuncel Yazgan on January 12, stated that the Constitutional Court could not conduct a review for pertinence. In the unanimous ruling, the court stated that a Constitutional Court judgment ruling for violation of rights did not automatically bring about release. The court held that the Constitutional Court had put itself in place of the trial court and therefore there was no necessity for an automatic ruling for release outside the court’s discretion.
The full text of the 14th High Criminal Court’s ruling can be seen here.