Court rejects release demand of Doğan Group’s Muratoğlu for second time

Court rejects release demand of Doğan Group’s Muratoğlu for second time

ISTANBUL
Court rejects release demand of Doğan Group’s Muratoğlu for second time

An Istanbul court has rejected a demand for the release of Doğan Group Ankara Administrative Representative Barbaros Muratoğlu for a second time following his arrest on Dec. 15, 2016, on charges of “helping an armed terrorist organization.”

A prosecutor sought Muratoğlu’s release for a second time, but the demand was rejected by the Istanbul 13th Court of Serious Crimes in a hearing held on April 18. 

Muratoğlu’s initial release demand was rejected on March 1 after the court claimed he could exert pressure on witness Ramazan Aykış, who has also been under arrest.

Muratoğlu’s lawyers, Köksal Bayraktar, Şehnaz Yüzer and Ahmet Çörtoğlu, attended the hearing, as well as Muratoğlu himself. 

Aykış, a lawyer who was arrested in a case into the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) in the western province of İzmir before seeking to benefit from the effective remorse law, is a witness in the hearing whose testimony was among the evidence in the indictment.

“The testimonies that I gave in the prosecutor’s office, which were based on my observations during a four- or five-year period, were passed on to my statements as if they were certain. I understood it from the press. What I saw during those four or five years are observations,” Aykış told the court through the voice and video informatics system (SEGBİS). 

Upon the questions of Muratoğlu’s lawyers, Aykış said he did not personally witness that Muratoğlu hired lawyers Cemalettin Karataş and Mehmet Yusuf Burak because they were influential figures in the network of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen and the judiciary.

“I got that impression,” he added. 

Muratoğlu, meanwhile, repeated his demand for a release.

“I just told them that we had administrative fines and sentences and we were looking for a legal bureau. I didn’t say anything other than that. I don’t accept the opposing statements and demand my release,” he told the court.  

Muratoğlu’s lawyers pointed to the witness testimony in demanding their client’s release. 

“The witness testimony is out in the open. He said that it was based on his observations and comments. The time beyond the purpose of arrest has passed. We demand his release,” Çörtoğlu said, while Bayraktar added that the witness gave a statement was in favor of Muratoğlu.

“My client has been under arrest for 139 days. Stipulations that imprisonment should not surpass a reasonable duration are in the constitution. That reasonable duration has passed. It’s impossible for him to know that a person has ByLock while speaking to him. He doesn’t have an account at Bank Asya,” he said. 

Yüzer also said the duration of arrest had caused unjust suffering. 

“The witness confirmed our previous statements. All the evidence in the file has been gathered. It causes unjust suffering if a person stays imprisoned for nearly five months without any concrete or legal basis,” she said. 

Despite the pleas, the court ordered the continuation of Muratoğlu’s arrest while also ordering that the file be sent to the prosecutor for him to prepare his views regarding the case. 

The hearing was adjourned.