The first ses­sion of Nuriye and Semih’s tri­al was held today, Sep­tem­ber 14, in Ankara. The two who were fired from their teach­ing posi­tions have been on hunger strike since March 9 2017. They were tak­en into cus­tody on May 22 and jailed on May 23rd.

The Court took only one deci­sion — in their absence : that of main­tain­ing them in prison. The next ses­sion will be on Sep­tem­ber 28, in the cour­t­house locat­ed on the cam­pus of Sin­can prison in Ankara.

Here are a few details…

Nuriye and Semih were not brought before the judges. The Ankara Secu­ri­ty Direc­torate informed the court in writ­ing and plead­ed for their absence “due to a lack of suf­fi­cient per­son­nel, the risk of provo­ca­tions and the risk of escape.” Of note : On the 190th day of a hunger strike car­ried out beyond all crit­i­cal phys­i­o­log­i­cal lim­its, Nuriye and Semih are cer­tain­ly no longer autonomous, nor can they walk or even talk.

Also worth not­ing : fol­low­ing their incar­cer­a­tion, Nuriye and Semih were hos­pi­tal­ized in June due to their fail­ing health. Their lawyers had peti­tioned the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court for their imme­di­ate release. The Court turned down the request : “No emer­gency affect­ing their phys­i­cal and men­tal exis­tence requires an imme­di­ate intervention.”

Nuriye and Semih face a sen­tence of 20 years for “mem­ber­ship in an armed ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion”, “pro­pa­gan­da for a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion” and “infrac­tions to the law on demon­stra­tions and assemblies”.

The brief of indict­ment spec­i­fies that the demon­stra­tions and actions by the accused were ordered by “the ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion” and there­fore can­not be con­sid­ered as actions seek­ing redress of their rights and adds : “Con­sid­er­ing the fact they chant­ed slo­gans linked to the ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion, their active resis­tance to the secu­ri­ty forces dur­ing their arrests, it appears clear­ly that the actions were done at the behest of the ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion DHKP‑C and that the sus­pects are active in the DHKP‑C.”

Fol­low­ing this state­ment by the pros­e­cu­tor, the lawyers had appealed to the Euro­pean Human Rights Tri­bunal this time, in an extreme­ly detailed report of 33 pages and 77 para­graphs. The deci­sion was ren­dered in August : it was also a refusal moti­vat­ed by the fact that “their arrest does not rep­re­sent a vital dan­ger”. Nuriye and Semih were invit­ed to put an end to their hunger strike.

Despite pro­hi­bi­tions and bar­rages, a crowd had massed in front the Jus­tice Palace today. Civ­il soci­ety orga­ni­za­tions, men and women polit­i­cal fig­ures, union rep­re­sen­satives, intel­lec­tu­als and artists… Semih’s com­pan­ion, Esra Öza­kça, who is also on a hunger strike, was on the premises.

Pri­or to the ses­sion, sup­port groups were barred from hold­ing a press con­fer­ence, as were the lawyers who had come to the cour­t­house for Nuriye and Semih’s defense.

Also note­wor­thy : On Sep­tem­ber 12, Nuriye Gül­men and Semih Özakça’s lawyer Acun Karadağ’s was tak­en into cus­tody dur­ing a wide­spread oper­a­tion. Fol­low­ing this vio­la­tion of the right to a defense, the Pres­i­dents of the Bars of sev­er­al towns such as Ankara, Antalya, Adana, Van, Sakarya etc.. came before the court to act as defense lawyers. This was unprece­dent­ed in the his­to­ry of mobi­liza­tions with­in the Turk­ish Bar.

See­ing that the lawyers were tak­en into cus­tody on Sep­tem­ber 12, Acun Karadağ request­ed a sup­ple­men­tary delay to pre­pare the defense.
Me Murat Yıl­maz : “Not pre­sent­ing Nuriye and Semih to their own tri­al is a demon­stra­tion of fear.” Refer­ring to the lack of evi­dence in the file, he added that Nuriye and Semih did not need to defend them­selves and request­ed their acquit­tal and imme­di­ate release.

We request three min­utes to speak about our 18 col­leagues who were tak­en into cus­tody. Sev­er­al lawyers were kicked, myself includ­ed.” “1130 jurists asked to be present at this hear­ing. We want­ed to hold a press con­fer­ence with over 100 lawyers.”

Murat Timur, Pres­i­dent of the Van Bar spec­i­fied that sev­er­al unfair dis­missals were ordered by decree. “Nuriye and Semih have become the spir­it of all those who have suf­fered these injus­tices. We are here for a rea­son. Do not lose your con­science. You have a great duty, for the per­sons on whom you are pass­ing judg­ment are head­ing toward death, step by step.”

Veli Küçük Pres­i­dent of the Adana Bar, said that “tol­er­ance to diverse voic­es is a rich­ness”, and added “My clients are tar­get­ed because they are resist­ing a cul­ture of enslavement.”

Zafer Kazan, Pres­i­dent of the Bar in Sakarya and Polat Balkan of the Bar in Antalya also plead­ed for the pris­on­ers’ acquit­tal. Polat Balkan : “We must re-awake the con­science of jus­tice in pub­lic opinion.”

But we will not for­get the way in which the police repressed the crowd of demon­stra­tors, as usu­al, and man­han­dled a cer­tain num­ber (today at 13h30).

Seen here : a pho­to tak­en by phone and draw­ings by Tarık Tol­u­nay that have cir­cu­lat­ed on social media.

En français “Ce devait être la pre­mière audi­ence pour Nuriye et Semih…” Cliquez pour lire

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