Turkish Bar Associations' head joins CHP leader in condemning attendance ban at Ergenekon verdict hearing
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
The trial has been held at the Silivri Courthouse, located near a prison complex. AFP photoThe head of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) Metin Feyzioğlu has slammed the Istanbul governor’s decision not to allow attendance during the Ergenekon trial’s verdict hearing scheduled for Aug. 5, describing it as “contrary to law.”
Adding to the criticism voiced by Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu Aug. 2, Feyzioğlu said that for restricting the attendance to a trial, a concrete threat to “public security” had to be established.
“The Governor’s Office’s decision, contrary to the law, and its statement that [police] will use force against those who would go to the courthouse transgresses the article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights regarding freedom of speech and the article 11 regarding freedom of assembly. All the articles shown as grounds for the governors’ decision should be interpreted in the light of the European Convention of Human Rights,” Feyzioğlu said in a statement Aug. 3.
The hearing will be held at the Silivri Courthouse, which lies near of the prison complex were most of the suspects are incarcerated. The Istanbul governor had said Aug. 2 that no audience would be allowed in the courtroom during the hearing concluding a trial that lasted over four years. He also said that any planned demonstration in front of the Silivri Courthouse would be deemed illegal, urging citizens to ignore calls to attend the event.
“No one can claim that a hearing to be held in a courthouse in the middle of a high-security prison complex could constitute a threat for public security. Which means that there are no legal reasons to restrict the attendance,” Feyzioğlu said.
“One of the reasons for the sequence of injustices that took place during the whole trial is that it was held in an atmosphere far from the public’s reach, which created psychological pressure because of the prison conditions,” he added.
Governor ‘spokesman of the bans’: CHP leader
Kılıçdaroğlu, for his part, had emphasized the right of the families to follow the last hearing of the Ergenekon trial, lashing out at Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu for the “bans.”
“It is not up to the governor to ban the attendance at the trial,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that such measures could only be taken in police states.
“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,” he told reporters.
Police also carried out raids at several addresses mainly belonging to the Workers’ Party (İP) and its youth branch Turkish Youth Union (TGB) members Aug. 3. Both groups had called for a demo in front of the courthouse during the critical hearing.
Aug. 5 marks the beginning of the verdict hearing for the Ergenekon case, one of Turkey’s most significant legal battles of recent 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.