No audience to be allowed in courthouse during Ergenekon verdict hearing

No audience to be allowed in courthouse during Ergenekon verdict hearing

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
No audience to be allowed in courthouse during Ergenekon verdict hearing

Police barriers have been installed around the Silivri Courthouse as a precaution against a possible gathering ahead of the Ergenekon trial verdict hearing scheduled to take place on Aug. 5. DHA photo

No audience will be allowed to attend the Ergenekon trial hearing on Aug. 5, during which the court is expected to announce its verdict, Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu has said.

The governor told a press conference today that a planned demonstration in front of the Silivri Courthouse will be deemed illegal, urging citizens to ignore calls to attend the event.

Mutlu said only deputies, lawyers, suspects and members of the press would be allowed to follow the hearing inside the courtroom, adding that those who wish to gather outside the courthouse will be prevented from doing so. 

The measures will be taken as a precaution against possible attempts aiming to cause distress at the site, the governor said.

CHP leader hits out at 'ban'

Meanwhile main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu slammed the decision saying that it was not “up to the governor” to ban the attendance to a trial. 

“Doesn’t the governor have anything better to do? Is he the spokesman of the bans? People will come, follow the hearing and go home,” the Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader told reporters.

Kılıçdaroğlu said that such bans could only take place in a “police state.” “Look at the scientists, artists, politicians in the world. They are all disturbed by the [Ergenekon] trial and express it. Our people also want to express it but they say it is forbidden. Walking, gathering, talking or writing is banned… Where will this country go?” Kılıçdaroğlu said. 

Aug. 5 is the beginning of the verdict hearing for the Ergenekon case, one of Turkey’s most significant legal battles of the past few years. The case, focusing on an alleged coup plot, has seen hundreds of suspects detained and tried on accusations of attempting to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. 

In total, 576 hearings were held over four years and two months, more than 39,000 pages of court documents were recorded and nearly 7,100 interim judgments were given by the court board before the round of final testimonies started.