Case transfer demand of Balyoz arrestees rejected
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Lawyers of some suspects spoke to press during a break in yesterday’s hearing.During yesterday’s hearing in the "Balyoz" (Sledgehammer) case, the prosecutor withdrew his demand that the case be transferred to another court.
The 97th hearing in the Balyoz case was held by Istanbul’s 10th Court for Serious Crimes at Silivri Prison yesterday. The 222 suspects under arrest in the case, including the retired generals Çetin Doğan and Halil İbrahim Fırtına, retired Adm. Özden Örnek and retired Lt. Gen. Engin Alan, who is an elected deputy from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), attended the hearing. Most of the suspects’ lawyers did not appear in the courtroom in protest of the case, on the grounds that “the prosecutor announced his opinion without reviewing the evidence and rejected demands that witnesses be heard.”
Before the hearing began, some of the jailed suspects released balloons that read “justice, we grew older in prison, brothers-in-arms,” allowing them to float toward where the audience and journalists were seated.
Hüseyin Kaplan, the leading prosecutor in the trial, demanded June 15 that the trial be transferred to another court from Istanbul’s 10th Criminal Court, based on Article 19 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CMK), which states that the court will transfer the case to another equal court of law in the event that the authorized judge or the court cannot proceed with its duties for juridical or factual reasons.
The request came in response to the Istanbul Bar Association’s failure to provide a lawyer for the defendants in the ongoing case, even though the court requested them to do so three times, according to reports. During yesterday’s hearing, Kaplan withdrew his transfer request.
“It is clear that the transfer of the case will not solve the problems. Even if it is transferred, the judicial problems still will not change. A new court’s examining and deciding on the case will extend the trial period, and this will lead to further victimization of the arrested suspects; also the bar will not assign lawyers. So it is more convenient to carry on with the judgment process at the same court,” Kaplan said.
The case cannot be continued because the suspects’ lawyers have refused to participate in the sessions on the basis of irregularities in the trial.
On May 25, the chief prosecutor of Istanbul’s Silivri district launched an investigation into 11 managers of the Istanbul Bar Association, including Ümit Kocasakal, the head of the organization, on charges of "attempting to influence a judicial authority."
Ex-intel officer testifies in Ergenekon trial
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Retired counterterrorism head of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) said he was “uninformed about the alleged terrorist organization Ergenekon” but that some illegal organizations had weapons buried in Turkey during his testimony in the ongoing Ergenekon case.
“I do not know many things about Ergenekon. The investigation into this organization started when I was in the United States of America. My knowledge is mostly secondhand,” Mehmet Eymür said at the hearing in Istanbul’s Silivri district yesterday.
When the chief judge asked Eymür what he knew about illegal organizations in Turkey linked to NATO in the post-Cold War era, he said, “These kinds of organizations are thought to benefit the state but they can turn into organizations working against the state. I know that there are buried weapons in some places. There was a fear of Russia at that time. Even the places [they were buried] were forgotten. I do not know if they are the same weapons found during Ergenekon investigations,” Eymür said.