Case Monitoring

Court rules to release 5 detained defendants in Haydar Ergül’s trial 

While 5 defendants were released in the trial in which 19 people, among which Democratic Modernity (Demokratik Modernite) journal editor Haydar Ergül, were being tried; it was ruled in relation to Ergül and some other defendants that the Court would await the answer to the warrant addressed to the forensic medicine institute concerning a vocal comparison. The next hearing will take place on December 26th

İstanbul – Ninth hearing of the trial where Democratic Modernity journal’s editor Haydar Ergül faces “membership in a terrorist organization charges” was held at İstanbul 22nd High Criminal Court today. Ergül is among 18 defendants, of whom 5 are tried whilst in detention. The court had ruled for Ergül’s release during the previous hearing after 15 months of detention.

Defendants were present in the courtroom with their lawyers. After all were identified, the trial began with the prosecutor requesting that all detained defendants remain in detention.

The trial continued with the hearing of witnesses. Birgül Kızıldağ stated, “I know some of the defendants that have been named from the period when I was the provincial co-president of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP). HDP is a legal party. We carry out our operations upon information sent to us by our party headquarters.”

Aygül Turhan, one of the detained defendants, said: “I have been detained for 2 years. I defended myself in the previous hearing. There are 165 phone recordings, I speak in only 65 of them. The rest are calls that I’ve received. I think that we do not understand each other and that the arguments we give in our defence do not lead to any results. I request my release.”

Then defendant Aysel Diler, also detained, delivered her defence in Kurdish: “In addition to my previous plea, this trial is not a legal trial but a political one. Our long detention has now turned into sentence execution. This is an unjust situation, I cannot accept it. My address, everything about me, is known; the Court could try me without having me detained. I request my release as well as that of my comrades,” she said.

Eşref Yaşar, the next detained defendant to speak, said: “The case file is incomplete. The trial has been stretched out for too long and this unlawful situation needs to come to an end. I request our release from detention and our acquittal.”

Defendant Mustafa Elma added, “How do you establish that I took part in the HDP’s political academy from the fact that I entered and left the HDP’s Bağcılar office? There is no proof whatsoever that I took part in a training.”

Other defendants reiterated their previous statements. After this, the presiding judge announced a recess. When the trial resumed, defense lawyers presented their statements and requested their clients’ acquittal.

Once these requests were formulated another short recess was announced in order for the Court to reach an interim decision. At the end of the recess, the Court ruled to release defendants Eşref Yaşar, Aygül Turhan, Mustasfa Elma, Aysel Diler, and Münevver İlingi. Ruling that the response by the forensic medicine institute to the warrant concerning a vocal comparison would be awaited, the court adjourned the trial until December 26th, 2019.