The General Prosecutor wrote that the appeals by the Presidency and the Parliament should be rejected on the grounds that these institutions are not entitled to appeal as intervening parties

 

The Office of the General Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals issued their opinion in the Altans trial, asking the Supreme Court of Appeals to uphold the verdicts rendered in the retrial of the case on 4 November 2019.

At the end of the retrial, ordered by the 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals, the 26th High Criminal Court of Istanbul acquitted Mehmet Altan but convicted his co-defendants Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak of “aiding a terrorist group without being its member” and Fevzi Yazıcı, Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül and Yakup Şimşek of “membership of a terrorist group.”

The General Prosecutor’s opinion, dated 29 January 2020, asked the 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals to reject the appeals by the lawyers representing Ilıcak and Ahmet Altan. The prosecutor also asked the Supreme Court to reject Ilıcak’s request for the review to be held during a courtroom hearing.

The General Prosecutor also wrote in their opinion that the appeals against the verdict filed by the Presidency and the Parliament should be rejected on the grounds that they were not directly impacted by the leveled offenses and therefore were not entitled to appeal as intervening parties. The General Prosecutor also wrote that the Presidency and the Parliament’s appeals against Mehmet Altan’s acquittal should be rejected for lack of incriminating evidence against Mehmet Altan.

As for appeals against the convictions for Fevzi Yazıcı, Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül and Yakup Şimşek, the prosecutor asked the Supreme Court to reject the appeals and uphold the convictions.

Ahmet and Mehmet Altan’s lawyer Figen Albuga Çalıkuşu said that although the General Prosecutor’s opinion to be issued without delay was a positive development, the opinion was controversial in that “While in similar press trials, such as the Cumhuriyet case, in which the defendants were also charged with ‘aiding a terrorist group,’ the General Prosecutor requested acquittal, but in the Altans case, where Ahmet Altan is accused over three articles he penned and his political commentary on live TV, the General Prosecutor is seeking the affirmation of his conviction.”

Çalıkuşu also stressed that her client Ahmet Altan was given too harsh a sentence regarding the offense of “aiding a terrorist group,” saying a sentence of 10 years and 6 months would only be proportional to offenses related to “membership or leadership of a terrorist group.”

Çalıkuşu said their expectation was that the inconsistencies would be remedied once their appeal is reviewed by the 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals.

The General Prosecutor’s opinion (in Turkish) can be accessed here.

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