Case Monitoring

Lawyer Veysel OK, journalist Cihan Acar given 5-month suspended sentence for “insulting judiciary”

Media and Law Studies (MLSA) Co-Director Veysel Ok and journalist Cihan Acar were given a five-month suspended prison sentence each for “insulting the judiciary” over a statement Ok made criticising the Criminal Judgeships of Peace in 2015.

Ok stated that the Criminal Judgeships of Peace — arraignment courts for terror related crimes — arrest all suspects indiscriminately, in an interview with Cihan Acar, a journalist for the shuttered Özgür Düşünce newspaper.

The indictment of the trial that is heard at Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance was drafted by prosecutor Murat İnam, whose case where he is a defendant for membership in FETÖ charges is still waiting before the Court of Cassation. The prosecutor alleged that the statements in the interview were an insult to the judiciary, a crime under the Turkish Criminal Code Article 301.

The court handed down a five-month sentence to both defendants, suspending the prison term, which means that they will not serve the sentence unless they commit an offense within the next five years.

In his defense statement, Ok said: “I used my right to criticize as a lawyer. I still hold the same opinion that the Judgeships of Peace, both in terms of their establishment and structure, are in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and international norms.”

Representatives of the German, US and Dutch Consulates, Lawyers for Lawyers, Clooney Foundation for Justice and Law Society (England) were present as monitors in the courtroom.