Second Constitutional Court application for Akın Atalay

Our newspaper’s lawyers have requested a ruling, stating that the violations of the law, constitution and European Convention of Human Rights involved in Akın Atalay’s detention have become blatant.

Yayınlanma: 28.03.2018 - 09:27
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Our newspaper’s lawyers have submitted a second petition to the Constitutional Court (CC), which has not taken the individual application made by our Executive Board Chair Akın Atalay, in detention for 513 days in Silivri Prison for journalistic activities, onto its caseload for one year and three months.

 In the petition, in which attention is drawn to the violation rulings that the European Court of Human Rights and CC passed on Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan, the speedy adjudication of the application was sought given that the violations of the law, constitution and European Convention of Human Rights involved in Akın Atalay’s detention had become blatant.

 The petition drafted on behalf of Akın Atalay by Cumhuriyet’s lawyers was submitted yesterday to the Presiding Judge’s Office of the Second Section of the Constitutional Court. In the petition, in which it is recalled that individual applications to the CC were made on behalf of Cumhuriyet newspaper’s managers and journalists on 26 December 2016, it is pointed out that the CC has yet to rule in one year and three months. In the petition, in which it is recalled that, from among these applications, the CC issued a ruling solely over our Book Supplement Editor Turhan Günay on 11 January that his right to liberty and security of person had been violated due to detention being unlawful, it was noted that Günay had been charged and arrested in relation to the same investigation and acts as the other ten Cumhuriyet employees. In the petition, in which it is stated that, nevertheless, Istanbul Serious Crime Court No 27 dismissed Murat Sabuncu, Ahmet Şık and Akın Atalay’s applications for release made citing the Günay ruling as a precedent, it was indicated that in the grounds for dismissal, the CC’s subject-matter and territorial jurisdiction having been brought into debate, matters relating to release/ending detention were alleged to fall to the subject-matter and territorial jurisdiction and discretion of the courts of instance and the ruling should not thus be taken into consideration.

 Applications being kept waiting

 With it stated in the petition that the individual applications made by CC applicants Murat Sabuncu, Akın Atalay, Güray Tekin Öz, Hacı Musa Kart, Ahmet Kadri Gürsel, Hakan Karasinir, Önder Çelik, Bülent Utku and Mustafa Kemal Güngör were still being kept waiting at the section presiding judge’s office for inclusion on the caseload, it was requested that these individual application files be remitted to the Plenary Session and be adjudicated at once by the Constitutional Court.

 Also applies to Cumhuriyet

 The European Court of Human Rights announced its rulings on Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay on 20 March 2018 and the petition, in which it is determined that these rulings also apply to the Cumhuriyet trial, states the following:

 “Akın Atalay remains the trial’s only detainee as part of the same investigation and trial, based on the same acts and charges and on the same grounds as Turhan Günay. It has been confirmed in all detention orders until now and the indictment that all the applicants related to Cumhuriyet newspaper have been held responsible with the same reasons and grounds underlying the charges and for the same acts and that absolutely no difference in these terms has been mooted between Turhan Günay and the other applicants. It has also been clearly stressed in all of these procedures that what is at issue in the proceedings relates to publishing activity, in other words, directly to press freedom.”

 In the petition, in which it is stated that the applications of both applicant Akın Atalay and the other Cumhuriyet newspaper staffers can be adjudicated with reference to the relevant European Court of Human Rights and CC rulings, the following assessment is made:

 “At the point we have reached today, applicant Akın Atalay’s detention has stretched to 16 months and 21 days. The irreparable injustice suffered by applicant Akın Atalay due to the delay being experienced with our request for the case to be taken up by the Constitutional Court not being entertained is mounting up. Under these circumstances, we thus once more request that the Constitutional Court conduct an examination within the context of the most recent European Court of Human Rights’ rulings and pass a ruling speedily. If need be, it would be an important decision in terms of preventing a rights violation to immediately decide to prioritise the examination of the individual application number 2016/50970 of Akın Atalay who suffers ever greater injustice with each passing day and to adjudicate it immediately having made a speedy examination. Having regard to all these developments, the Constitutional Court must rule immediately on Akın Atalay’s application and the other applicants. This ruling will clearly bring about the release of the sole pretrial detainee in the case, Akın Atalay.”

 Detention magnifies the irreparable injury

 With it recalled in the petition that Istanbul Serious Crime Court No 27 failed to comply with the CC ruling on Mehmet Altan, the request was made for “the passing of an express ruling for the violation to be eliminated through the ending of detention.” The relief sought in the concluding portion of the petition was listed as follows:

 “In view of the fact that it has by now become manifestly apparent and common knowledge just how unjust the extension of detention orders against Akın Atalay are, the violations of the constitution and European Convention on Human Rights have become blatant and each day that Akın Atalay’s detention which pricks the public conscience continues and will continue magnifies the irreparable injury, we once more request that the Constitutional Court speedily adjudicate our other applications but especially Akın Atalay’s individual application.”

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