Three judges suspended for decisions to release 79 suspects
AA PhotoThree judges who ordered the release of 79 suspects charged with alleged links to the “parallel state” of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen were suspended from duty on April 27 for “causing chaos within the judiciary.”
The 2nd Chamber of the Supreme Judges and Prosecutors Board (HSYK) decided on April 27 to suspend two judges in Istanbul, 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance judge Mustafa Başer and 29th Criminal Court of First Instance judge Metin Özçelik, as well as one judge in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, Habil Kahraman.
2nd HSYK Chamber President Mehmet Yılmaz said in a statement after the meeting that “the presence of a judge who uses an unlawful authority and make rulings violating the provision of law will be a disaster for the safety and respectability of the law.”
“No one has right to commit a crime. Judges give decisions in line with the law and the constitution,” he said.
The legal battle over the fate of 76 suspects, including Samanyolu Media Group General Manager Hidayet Karaca and 75 police officers, in Istanbul’s Silivri prison started on April 24 when the 29th Criminal Court of First Instance forwarded the case to the 32th Criminal Court of First Instance, which ordered their release on April 25.
The 10th Penal Magistracy of Peace, however, canceled the release late April 25, citing a memo from the Chief Prosecutor’s Office which argued that the court order was unlawful.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also fiercely criticized the judges who ruled the release of suspects who are charged with being a member of “the parallel state,” a group allegedly linked to Gülen movement and took key posts in the judiciary and police.
“There is a group who seizes the authority which does not belong to them. The HSYK meeting that started at 2 p.m. has come very late. They [judges should] have started this on the weekend,” Erdoğan said April 27 before leaving for Kuwait for an official visit. He also claimed that some deputies went to Istanbul Courthouse in the evening while the judges were taking the decisions to release the suspects.
“It is wrong to allow these deputies inside the courthouse. This is nothing to do with the laws. This is done in line with the instructions from Pennsylvania [referring to Gülen],” he added.
“I hope the ideal results will be taken with the HSYK decisions… Those who are involved in this organization should pay its price,” Erdoğan also told reporters.
On April 27, hours before the HSYK’s 2nd Chamber announced its decision, the Istanbul 29th Criminal Court of First Instance canceled the objection of the 10th Penal Magistracy of Peace to its ruling. The 29th Criminal Court of First Instance also decided to file a complaint against the 10th Penal Magistracy of Peace ruling.
On the same day, the 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance also insisted in its decision to release 76 suspects and resent its ruling to the enforcement prosecutor’s office. However, the judges of the two courts were suspended soon after the decisions.