A group of journalists gather in front of
the courthouse to protest the OdaTV trial. AA photo
Barış Terkoğlu and Barış Pehlivan were released today after the 13th hearing of the OdaTV case.
In todays hearing suspects completed their testimony in the 13th hearing in the case, arguing that a report prepared by the Scientific and Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) proved their innocence, but “the politically motivated court board would not secure justice for them.”
Istanbul’s 16th Court for Serious Crimes listened to the defenses of the suspects in the OdaTV case before making its interim judgment. Journalists Soner Yalçın, Barış Pehlivan and Barış Terkoğlu who were working for the OdaTV news portal, Professor Yalçın Küçük and former Police Chief Hanefi Avcı requested their release.
Professor Küçük categorically denied the report’s reliability, because “it was prepared by an Islamist institution.”
“TÜBİTAK is not a scientific place, it is a place for fanatical Islamists,” Küçük said.
In the previous hearing on Sept. 7, the court board had ruled that the TÜBİTAK report didn’t provide sufficient data regarding the suspects’ innocence.
TÜBİTAK’s report analyzes the digital documents found on three computers seized in searches conducted at the homes of Barış Pehlivan and Müyesser Yıldız and at the OdaTV office.
Pehlivan said he has been imprisoned for 20 months for no reason and the report “actually proved his innocence.”
“According the report, these three computers were infected with a virus. The documents used as evidence against us were put our computers by distant data transfer,” Pehlivan said, requesting his release.
Journalists Nedim Şener, Ahmet Şık, Muhammet Sait Çakır, İklim Ayfer Kaleli, Ahmet Mümtaz İdil, Şükrü Doğan Yurdakul, Müyesser Yıldız and Coşkun Musluk, who are being tried but not held under arrest, also attended the hearing.
Şener said the case was actually over, and he was expecting some of the suspects to be released.
“Barış Pehlivan’s defense showed the lies involved in this case. The TÜBİTAK report clearly showed that the court board’s basis for holding them in prison was not true,” Şener told Hürriyet Daily News.
Before the hearing, a group consisting of Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chairman Bülent Tezcan and deputy Melda Onur, some journalists and artists gathered in front of the courthouse to demonstrate for the defendants’ release.
Journalist Ayşenur Arslan issued a statement during the demonstration. “We journalists should stand by cameramen and reporters. As journalists, this is the place where we should stand,” Arslan said.
After the statement, the group left the pens in their hands on a banner reading “Freedom to journalists, empty the dungeons,” which was laid on the ground, and protested the arrest of the journalists with applause.
TÜBİTAK’s report on the OdaTV files, which was seven months in the making, arrived at the court on Aug. 27. TÜBİTAK examined the three computers and detected viruses on them, but was not able to detect whether the documents had been transferred via viruses or not.
The OdaTV case centers on an online news portal known for its fierce criticism of the government.