Van – Third hearing of the trial where journalist Oktay Candemir faces “insulting the President” charges based on a column he penned, was held today. Ruling against the final opinion of the prosecution, the court acquitted Candemir of the imputed offense.
Candemir, whom the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) defends, is charged with “insulting the President” due to the following expressions included in one of his columns: “Erdoğan who appoints trustees to municipalities, has discovered how each political organization is situated. He will now stack the cards accordingly. There will take place a birth. Knowing this, Erdoğan is doing his best to make sure the baby is born crippled.”
The hearing began with a slight delay at Van 3rd Criminal Court of First Instance. Candemir himself was not present in the hearing, his lawyers Erhan Çiftçiler and Erselan Aktan represented him in the courtroom. Following the identity checks, the prosecution presented their final opinion as to the accusations and requested the punishment of Candemir.
“Everybody knows that legislative, executive and judicial powers rest in one hand”
Following the final opinion of the prosecutor, lawyer Çiftçiler took the floor and began his defense by noting that the judiciary should resist against politics.
Lawyer Çiftçiler said, “Unfortunately, the judiciary rests under the influence of politics. My client’s social media post does not include insult, but rather falls under political criticism. Everybody know that, today, the legislative, executive and judicial powers are resting in one single hand. Will all citizens arguing against this be committing a crime? Does the post include insult? Not at all. Should everyone acclaim all that is said? Should no one express criticism against the political power? The judiciary serves the people. Thus, it should protect not the state or the political power, but the people.” Çiftçiler ended his defense by remarking that they do not accept the final opinion, and requested the acquittal of Candemir.
“Prosecutor’s final opinion goes against the Human Rights Action Plan announced by the President himself”
Noting that he agrees with Çiftçiler’s statement, lawyer Aktan added: “A few days ago, the President has announced a Human Rights Action Plan. Article 9 of the text clearly states that no one can be deprived of their freedom based on what they think or their expressions. This trial and the final opinion of the prosecutor is clearly contradicting the action plan. The final opinion is neither in compliance with the law nor with the action plan declared by Erdoğan. My client is a journalist, and he has put forth an analysis regarding the policies of Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Erdoğan. His statements fall under political criticism.”
Following the defense statements, the court came to its final decision and ruled for the acquittal of journalist Candemir on the grounds that the elements of the crime did not occur.