Turkish Bars Association submits proposal for retrials

Turkish Bars Association submits proposal for retrials

Turkish Bars Association submits proposal for retrials

Feyzioğlu’s union has suggested measures for retrials in coup cases. AA Photo

The Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) has submitted its suggestions to Parliament’s Justice Commission, which is mulling whether to abolish specially authorized courts in a move that could pave the way to retrials in some controversial cases.

The TBB said the new law should include “the obligation of a retrial” in convictions handed down by specially authorized courts. The new judicial process, including the investigations, should be conducted by judges who have not previously worked in the courts, it added.

Last month, the Turkish government suggested that steps could be taken in order to retry controversial cases, including the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) and Ergenekon, which were overseen by specially authorized courts, after a leading prime ministerial adviser alleged that evidence against suspects was fabricated.

The TBB also said “secret witnesses” should no longer be used. The use of secret witnesses was especially controversial in the Ergenekon coup plot case, as many of the charges were based primarily on their testimony. The association also said digital data and voice recordings should not be used as the sole evidence in any given case.

Last month, Turkey’s science watchdog, TÜBİTAK, stated that the date and time of key files on a hard drive at the Gölcük Navy Command had been modified. The same files were one of the main foundations of the coup-plot charges in the Balyoz trial indictments.

The report also said the detention period should be limited to three years. Last month, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the government would reduce the period from seven-and-a-half years to five years.

The report further recommended the abolition of Turkey’s Anti-Terror Law (TMK) as part of subsequent measures.