Lawyers to act on Turkey's coup case arrests

Lawyers to act on Turkey's coup case arrests

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Lawyers to act on Turkeys coup case arrests

Some of the suspects have been tried under arrest for over five years, according to attorney Zeynep Küçük. Hürriyet photo

Lawyers of a number of Ergenekon alleged coup case suspects petitioned the Çağlayan Courthouse July 5 to demand the release of their clients, on the grounds of a recent decision of the Turkish Constitutional Court that canceled a legal provision allowing a maximum of 10 years of detention for suspects prosecuted on terror charges.

A total of 12 suspects have been tried under arrest for more than 5 years, Zeynep Küçük, daughter and lawyer of Veli Küçük, an Ergenekon case suspect, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Abdullah Gül said the Constitutional Court’s decisions are binding for anyone, speaking to journalists in Istanbul on July 5. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ also said the court’s decision was proper. “In no state of law are people detained for 10 years. If you lack any evidence that will persuade the court to come up with a decision within 10 years, then it is not right to detain people.”

The Turkish Constitutional Court abrogated July 4 an article of the Turkish Penal Code allowing up to 10 years of detention for suspects prosecuted on terror charges, two days after a landmark ruling on the “unconstitutionality” of lengthy detentions.

Petition launched 

Zeynep Küçük said they expected the courts to release these 12 suspects immediately depending on the Constitutional Court’s decision. The court has given the government one year starting from the publication of the decision in the Official Gazette to change the provision. However, Zeynep Küçük said the courts should not wait one year to decide for trial without arrest for these suspects. A law which sets the maximum detention time as five years will be legal grounds for the courts to release the suspects, Zeynep Küçük said. The Istanbul 13th Court for Serious Crimes is expected to finalized the Ergenekon case and prepare its decision on Aug. 5.

A group of lawyers launched their petition asking for release of the 12 suspects: Doğu Perinçek, Hikmet Çiçek, Hasan Atilla Oğuz, Hasan Ataman Yıldırım, Mehmet Demirtaş, Oktay Yıldırım, Muzaffer Tekin, Veli Küçük, Kemal Kerinçsiz, Tekin Karadağ, Fikret Emek, Ergun Poyraz, İsmail Yıldız and Sevgi Eren Erol.
The Constitutional Court ruled that the legal provision doubling the detention periods stipulated in the penal code for charges of spying and attacking “state security, constitutional order, national defense and state secrets” that had been included in the third judicial reform package and enacted after its adoption by the Turkish Parliament, was found unconstitutional.

Basing its decision on the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Convention on Human Rights, Turkey’s top court has ruled that the provision was “excessive.” Meanwhile, Dilek Helvacı, the lawyer of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy and Ergenekon suspect Mehmet Haberal, told Hürriyet that they would demand her client’s release.