Court refuses to handle debated case
ANKARA - Anatolia News AgencyAnkara’s 3rd Court for Serious Crimes has approved an indictment against 20 suspects in the fraud investigation into the Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) charity, but has decided that the high-profile case falls outside its jurisdiction.
The court ruled that the offenses cited in the indictment were perpetrated in Istanbul and thus the trial should take place there. The judicial authorities will now decide which court in Istanbul will handle the case. If the court they assign also refuses to deal with the case, it will be up to the Court of Appeals to decide under which court’s jurisdiction the case falls.
Oktay Vural of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) said over the weekend that the court’s handing the case over to Istanbul was another indication that the government is trying to cover up the case. “I don’t believe that justice will prevail. Extensions of the ruling party are involved in the affair,” he said.
The defendants in the case, among them former media watchdog chief Zahid Akman, have been charged with “forgery,” “involvement in forgery conducted by a public official” and “abuse of confidence while on duty,” offenses that carry jail terms of up to 14.5 years. The opposition has harshly criticized prosecutors for not having considered any of the defendants as members of an organized group and for having refrained from pressing charges of fraud or embezzlement.