The never-ending tale of our indictment
By Aydın Engin
Twelve defendants from Cumhuriyet, ten of them remanded, are awaiting the indictment.
That is, the indictment in which the prosecutor conducting the investigation considers that he has found ‘crime’ serious enough to warrant remand.
But he is not drafting it.
Or is he unable to do so?
I am one of the people who made statement to the prosecutors in that investigation. So, I am very familiar with the file. If we leave to one side certain silly tricks such as indicating 250 lira to be 250,000 lira, the questions we were requested to answer can be summed up in a single sentence:
- Why did you change Cumhuriyet paper’s line?
This question is based on a premise. According to the prosecutor, Cumhuriyet newspaper has changed its editorial line.
Very well, let us assume that it has done so. Does it need to obtain permission or some such thing from prosecutors or somebody to do so? Can there be a place anywhere in the law for a crime like changing an editorial line?
In fact, the prosecution’s questions about the editorial line relied on the acceptance of ‘prosecutors’ testimony’ and consisted of the profferings in that testimony of those who had stooped to ‘squealing’ about Cumhuriyet’s editorial line failing to match their own ideological obsessions. This, and a few newspaper articles and a tweet sent by a former Cumhuriyet employee, constitute the evidence available to the prosecutor in support of the charges. According to the prosecutor, these ‘crimes’ are so serious that he applied for our ten colleagues to be remanded, and one of the penal benches of the peace that have been turned into remand mechanisms deemed this application to be ‘warranted.’
However, somehow or other, the indictment is not being and cannot be drafted.
Either an instruction is being awaited, and I hope this is not so, or there is no available material to enable the drafting an indictment that will be taken seriously.
That is why it somehow cannot be drafted.
What has appeared so far was by way of summary and was intended simply to remind the reader.
Well, the prosecutor who is incapable of drafting our indictment appeared before a judge yesterday. And, by operation of the law, this was not at any old serious crime court. It was at the Court of Cassation. At Penal Chamber No 16 of the Court of Cassation. You read about it in detail in Cumhuriyet’s report yesterday. If you did not, find it and read it. You will have great fun, and be greatly angered.
The individual who is the prosecutor on our investigation was a defendant at a hearing in the trial known as the ‘Selam Tevhid conspiracy.’
Please pay attention to this distinction. We are still suspects. If an indictment is drafted and that indictment is accepted by the serious crime court, we will advance from being suspects to defendants. However, ‘our’ prosecutor has long since advanced to being a defendant in the Selam Tevhid trial. And he is a defendant for whom two aggravated life sentences are sought. The indictment drafted against him has been taken seriously and accepted by the court, and he is on trial.
The day before yesterday, he answered the indictment, that is, he defended himself against the allegations.
I do not know if you will react to this defence by turning bright red with rage or laughing until your belly aches.
The question, ‘Is this signature yours?’ is posed.
The reply: ‘I don’t know.’
The question, ‘Did your sister work at a supplementary education institution belonging to the Gulenists?’ is posed.
The reply: ‘I don’t know.’
If this indictment of ours is drafted and we are able appear before the serious crime court, regardless of what we are asked there about our paper’s editorial line, the headlines we have inserted and the news we have covered, our reply will most certainly never be ‘I don’t know.’
For, we know that defending Cumhuriyet’s principles of democracy, freedoms, secularism and the people’s right to obtain news is not and cannot be a crime.
And we know this very well.
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