Court of Cassation overturns Aziz Oruç’s prison sentence

Court of Cassation overturns Aziz Oruç’s prison sentence
The Court of Cassation has overturned the verdict in the case where journalist Aziz Oruç was sentenced to prison for “committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization without being its member.” The Court overturned the ruling of İzmir 8th High Criminal Court, which sentenced Oruç to 6 years and 3 months in prison as per Article 220/6 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) due to his participation in a public demonstration in 2011 while he was a student in Denizli Pamukkale University. The Court of Cassation’s review of the case-file began in 2018, whereas its ruling was issued on June 28, 2021 and was served to Oruç’s lawyers today. The Court’s decision to overturn the verdict was justified on the grounds that the journalist’s prison sentence was not reduced. The reversal judgment notes that “as per the Article 220/6 of the TCK, a proportional and reasonable reduction should have been applied to the sentence,” and that the local court’s decision not to reduce the sentence had no reasonable grounds and did not comply with the scope of the file.

Case background

Journalist Oruç was prosecuted due to his participation in several public demonstrations in 2010 and 2011; 36 students including Oruç was sentenced to a total of 226 years in prison as a result of the proceeding. The case-file, which includes evidence such as dancing to Kurdish music, attending office launches of Democratic Regions Party (DBP) and March 8 International Women’s Day events and “planting trees on behalf of the terrorist organization,” was transferred to Denizli 4th High Criminal Court following the shutting down of İzmir 8th High Criminal Court.

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