CHP's Çakırözer: Detentions spell end of rule of law
CHP Member of Parliament Utku Çakırözer visited the journalists being held in Silivri. Çakırözer, criticising the local courts that failed to abide by the Constitutional Court’s order for their release, said that affirming detention despite the Constitutional Court’s violation ruling meant the end of the rule of law.
Çakırözer noted that the continued detention of the Cumhuriyet staffers would equate to a further extension and deepening of the disgrace afflicting Turkey’s democracy and judiciary.
CHP Eskişehir Member of Parliament Utku Çakırözer, having visited journalists and writers Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan, over whom a rights violation ruling was passed by the Constitutional Court, and the other detained journalists in prison, said, “The serious crime courts, in persisting with holding the journalists in detention despite the learned court’s rulings, is not just depriving these people of their freedom. At the same time, they show contempt for the rule of law in Turkey. Affirming detention despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling means the end of the rule of law.” Çakırözer, one of the ex-journalist MPs in parliament, visited the journalists and writers being held in detention in Silivri Prison. Çakırözer visited Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan, whom the first-instance courts failed to release in an affirmation of their detention orders despite the Constitutional Court passing a “freedom violation” ruling over them, and called for the immediate release of these people. Çakırözer said, “The Constitutional Court is the country’s highest legal organ. The serious crime courts, in persisting with holding Alpay and Altan in detention despite the learned court’s ‘freedom violation’ rulings, is not just depriving these people of their freedom. Affirming detention despite the Constitutional Court’s violation ruling means the end of the rule of law. There must be an immediate reversal of this error. The judicial institution must ensure that Alpay, Altan and the journalists and writers in similar circumstances are immediately restored to freedom. For citizens to trust justice and the law, the courts must first of all abide by the law.”
“500 days for a headline”
Çakırözer, who also visited Cumhuriyet newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, Executive Board Chair Akın Atalay and reporter Ahmet Şık, voiced the expectation that they, too, would be released at the hearing scheduled for 9 March. Çakırözer said, “9 March will see them having spent the fifth day following five hundred days in detention. Depriving people who have never picked up a stone let alone engage in terrorism of their freedom, families and loved ones for so many months on account of headlines they have run and articles they have written is incompatible with either the law or conscience. The Constitutional Court also passed a rights violation ruling over Cumhuriyet columnist Turhan Günay. This ruling should actually also have been applied to the three Cumhuriyet staffers in detention. But, the courts also flouted it. These journalists must also be released at the hearing on 9 March. Continuation of detention will equate to a further extension and deepening of the disgrace afflicting Turkey’s democracy and judiciary.
“Yücel has been waiting for one year”
Çakırözer, stating that on visiting Turkish and German citizen Deniz Yücel, who writes for the German press, he learnt that Yücel’s indictment had yet to be drafted, said, “Including his time under arrest, he has been deprived of his freedom for 350 days. And his indictment has not yet been drafted. The indictment against Yücel must be completed at once and he must be released pending trial.”
Çakırözer, who also visited detained writers Ali Bulaç and Ahmet Turan Alkan, commented, “Everyone knows that these people are not terrorists. The conservative, pious circles from whose midst they come know this best. See, these people have also been in detention for 550 days.”
“Kavala is in solitary confinement”
Çakırözer, who also visited civil society activist and businessman Osman Kavala, stating that he has also been in solitary confinement for three months, said, “The Osman Kavala I know is a businessman who was wholeheartedly striving for Turkey’s EU membership and was defending and supporting the defence of the fundamental rights and freedoms that we all embrace. Over and above being deprived of his liberty in prison on charges that bear no relation to the truth, he is being forced to stay on his own in solitary confinement. He must be released at once. His indictment must be drafted and he must be released pending trial. Until this happens, his prison conditions must without fail be improved.”
Çakırözer stated that Türk Solu Magazine Editor Gökçe Fırat, whom he visited in jail, was another figure against whom the Gülenists had taken legal action in the past and had now been deprived of his liberty for months on FETOism charges, and he must be released without delay.
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