Inappropriate use of remand

Jurists say that penal benches of the peace are passing remand orders for the purpose of belittlement, correction, chastisement and intimidation of opponents.

28 Kasım 2016 Pazartesi, 11:09
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Jurists, making reference to remand orders, have described penal benches of the peace as “the ruling party’s offices.” They have said that remand we serving the purposes of “belittlement, correction and chastisement.” Mehmet Ümit Erdem, one of the lawyers of our paper’s remanded columnists and managers pointed out that a penal bench of the peace judge he had chatted with in the judicial complex in Çağlayan had said, “We do not order release as a matter of course unless a request comes from the prosecution,” and said that, “If a person who returns of their own will from abroad is remanded on flight risk grounds that is the imposition of a punishment.”
We take a stab in the dark
Erdem, stating that the judicial system is in a very parlous state, noted that the number of people to be released on objection is very small. Erdem, indicating he had heard penal bench of the peace judges at Çağlayan rule as a matter of course to deny objections, elaborated as follows: “A judge I was chatting with said, ‘Unless there is something very special, we do not order release as a matter of course unless a request comes from the prosecution. As far as other decisions go, for example to block access, the office examines these. They automatically order extensions.’ We take a stab in the dark and object on general principles or based on what we hear during interrogation.”
One truckload of data is waiting
Erdem, saying that there is one truckload of digital data awaiting examination at Istanbul Police Data Processing Branch, said, “Examination of the data is awaited to enable the trial to be commenced. Previously, objections went to the nearest serious crime court but now they go to and fro between ten penal benches of the peace. You cannot speak of independent review. And so it is impossible to get a result. When they set them up, they didn’t even call them courts but benches. It is a structure directly established around a person. They can take anybody they want prisoner as things stand.”
Operation to intimidate opponents
Ayhan Erdoğan, one of the lawyers of our columnists and managers, voicing the view that penal benches of the peace are a structure for the ruling party to intimidate its opponents, said, “There is no aspect of them that bears comparison with the interrogatory benches in the 12 September period. It is open to debate whether penal benches of the peace can conduct fair trials in penal law matters. The restricted nature of this structure is a pointer that it will not be fair. This is a judicial activity that has been taken under control.”


Ergin Cinmen, lawyer of the writers Ahmet Altan and Prof. Dr. Mehmet Altan who have been on remand for 66 days, pointing out that unlawfulness has been going on in Turkey for a very long time, said, “Remand has been turned into a de-facto punishment. The penal benches of the peace that pass these orders have acquired the status of the ruling party’s offices. Everybody knows that whoever appears before the penal benches of the peace will be remanded. A most typical example is Akın Atalay’s situation.” Cinmen, pointing out that Turkey will face international sanctions before long, said, “The ECHR will soon decide that the Constitutional Court is not an effective means of recourse and this will drag Turkey’s prestige through the mud.”



Özcan Kılıç, lawyer of Özgür Gündem newspaper’s Responsible Editorial Affairs Manager İnan Kızılkaya and General Publication Director Zana Bilir Kaya who have been on remand for nearly 100 days, said the following, “With pre-trial conditions available, they wish to correct, chastise and belittle by keeping people in prison. Remand orders are used to demonstrate the state’s power. Aslı Erdoğan was denied access even to her own books. Not every item of clothing is even given in prison. As to the reasons for which remand and arrest orders are passed in our own file, we do not even know this. Although Sabah newspaper has reported on the indictment drafted against my client, we were unable to access it for a long period of time.”



Istanbul Bar Association Chair, Mehmet Durakoğlu, said, “Due to the impact of the special conditions in Turkey on the judiciary, remand has ceased to be a measure and has turned into a sentence. To an extent, with the judiciary not being impartial and independent, it is amounting ever more to the passing of a ‘belittlement’ sentence which does not exist in statute. This cannot be deemed to be correct. There can be no such thing as lengthy remand. There are many European Court of Human Rights rulings to this effect. Penal benches of the peace are at the point where the State Security Courts ended up. The way these are operated is not correct. The position they are in today is not correct, either.”