Verdict on televangelist overturned by appeal court
A Turkish court of appeal has overturned a verdict given by a local court in the Adnan Oktar criminal organization case, saying that the procedure conducted was inadequate, thereby asking for the retrial of all defendants.
The Istanbul Regional Court of Justice examined the verdict against 215 defendants, including Adnan Oktar, a controversial televangelist who was sentenced to 1,075 years for crimes including sexual assault, sexual abuse of minors and attempted political and military espionage.
The appeal court noted in its decision that the local court made a judgment on unopened cases and that this provision was accepted as being unlawful. It also stressed that the local court made a judgment by continuing the case in the absence of victims.
Emphasizing that some defendants were sentenced without a reconciliation procedure, the appeal court overturned the verdict due to incomplete prosecution and erroneous assessment.
With the decision of reversal, the appeal court decided to release 68 defendants, taking into account the time spent in detention, but continued the detention of 16 high-profile defendants, including Oktar.
The Istanbul Regional Court of Justice sent the file back to the Istanbul 30th Heavy Penal Court in order to eliminate the procedural deficiencies.