Saga of reporter trial resumes on 299th day

Saga of reporter trial resumes on 299th day

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Saga of reporter trial resumes on 299th day

Warning that journalists in Turkey are under oppression, colleagues, friends and supporters of reporters in prison express their support in front of an Istanbul court. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

The indictment accusing a group journalists of being members of and helping an outlawed organization began to be read yesterday on the 299th day of their arrest.

An anchorwoman from the state-run TRT read the 134-page Oda TV case indictment at a courthouse in Istanbul, in which 14 suspects, including arrested journalists Nedim Şener, Ahmet Şık and Soner Yalçın, are accused of having ties to the Ergenekon group.

The court adjourned at 6:00 p.m. yesterday without any rulings and the indictment’s reading will continue today.

Prosecutors allege in the indictment that Şık and Şener were aiding and abetting the outlawed Ergenekon organization. The other suspects are accused of being members of the gang.
Colleagues, friends and supporters of imprisoned journalists gathered yesterday in front of the Istanbul courthouse where the Oda TV trial was held.

Members of Freedom to Journalists Platform said in a statement read in front of the courthouse that journalists in Turkey were under oppression.

“This is the second big oppression against journalists in Turkey after the coup d’etat in 1980,” a representative said while holding Şık’s book “The Imam’s Army” (İmam’ın Ordusu), which was “a book draft prepared with other suspects as instructions and guidelines for the Ergenekon Armed Terrorist Organization” according to the prosecutors.

Despite efforts to eliminate copies of “The Imam’s Army,” the book recently went to print and was released on the market at Istanbul’s Tüyap Book Fair Nov. 16 under the title “000Book” (000Kitap).
Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputies Umut Oran, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Binnaz Toprak, Oktay Ekşi, İlhan Cihaner and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Deputy Ertuğrul Kürkçü also followed the case in the courtroom. 

Chief Judge Mehmet Ekinci said before the hearing that their duty was to decide by distinguishing facts and imputations.
Way-out statements 

At the beginning of the case during the statements of identification Professor Yalçın Küçük represented himself as being “trial mannequin” which caused laughs in the courtroom. 
“They arrest me for the important cases as a wall flower. I am also a retired professor who is imprisoned quite a bit…” said Küçük.

One of the other suspects Müyesser Uğur introduced herself by stating “I have been working as a journalist for last 30 years but the indictment says I am a terrorist.” 

The Chief Judge replied, “Not at all!” 

Şık said he is the father of a daughter who will be a bandit someday.

BDP deputy Kürkçü, who was also in the courtroom, told the Daily News he is hopeful due to the judge’s words on distinguishing facts and imputations but he was still afraid the case would run long.
“Only a prosecutor can gather a socialist journalist, a nationalist professor and an ultra-nationalist journalist for building a gang to target violence against the government,” Kürkçü said.
CHP deputy Oktay Ekşi said that the government and the judiciary should take lesson from the history that no idea can be put behind the bars. 

Meanwhile the chief judge sent an officer to stop those using Twitter from spreading news from the courtroom during the case. 

The hearing was still in process when the Daily News went to print yesterday.