Sunday, April 24, 2016

Detained Academics Released

Kıvanç Ersoy, Muzaffer Kaya, Meral Camcı and Esra Mungan

Detained academics were released by the court on Friday April 22, 2016. Imprisoned under the allegations of terrorism propaganda, three signatories were kept in prison for 38 days, and Meral Camcı later joined them when she returned to Turkey from abroad--knowing that she would be sent to prison. Upon her return, the prosecutor asked for her arrest on the grounds that there is a risk for her to "run away."

During the trial, the prosecutor first requested their continuous detention. He then changed his mind, and asked for the academics' release. After the break, he changed his mind again: while still asking for their release, he asked for the court to drop charges of terrorism and accept the new charges under article 301--the infamous law that criminalizes denigrating Turkishness and the state. 

The problematic handling of the case aside, according to lawyer Meriç Eyüboğlu in a previous case (Akçam vs. Turkey) the European Court of Human Rights has already ruled that 301 has no clear norm of applicability and therefore cannot be applied. It is currently unclear how the court will proceed because according to Turkish law, in order for someone to be charged under article 301, the prosecutor needs the permission of the Ministry of Justice. The next trial will be held in September 2016.