The first hearing of the trial in which journalist Sultan Eylem Keleş, whom MLSA represents in court, faces “insulting a public official” and “prevention of public duty” charges was held in the Istanbul 56th Criminal Court of First Instance.
In the hearing, which Sultan Eylem Keleş did not attend, her lawyers were present. Mert Batur and Neslihan Açar, who are tried together with Keleş, attended the hearing with their lawyers.
Mert Batur, who spoke first during the hearing, stated that employees of the BİMEKS company were detained during an unlawful intervention in a press statement they wanted to make in front of Boğaziçi University’s South Campus to seek their rights. He further said that they were subjected to ill-treatment amounting to torture. Batur explained that he protected himself against this ill-treatment and did not insult anyone. Upon being asked by the judge, Batur answered that he did not see the other defendants in the case hitting or insulting the plaintiffs either. Batur denied the accusations and demanded his acquittal.
Neslihan Açar stated that the unlawful intervention and detentions took place before the press statement could be made. Furthermore, she said: “In the police bus, Sultan Eylem Keleş and another friend called Ezgi were attacked by female police officers several times.” In her defense, Açar stated that the health controls were conducted in the company of the police officers who are plaintiffs in the case, and added that she did not see anyone hitting or insulting the police officers. Stating that she does not accept the accusations against her, Açar requested her acquittal.
The lawyer of Açar and Batur reminded of the fact that the indictment has been returned twice before and stated that despite this the crimes brought forward against the defendants in the indictment were still not clear. Pointing out that the indictment contains nothing but the statements of the plaintiffs, their lawyer demanded that all defendants be acquitted immediately.
Taking the floor after that, Keleş’s lawyers announced that Keleş would attend the next hearing and that they would make their defense on the merits of the case after their clients’ statement was taken.
The court decided to inquire with the Chief Public Prosecutor in İstanbul whether an investigation on the grounds of violating the Law No. 2911 on the date of the crime was initiated against the defendants, to issue an order to bring the plaintiffs who did not attend the hearing to court by force, and to reject the request of the defendant’s lawyers for an immediate acquittal as legal conditions were not met. The trial was adjourned until February 16, 2023.
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