Istanbul – BIA News Desk
18 November 2013, Monday 16:05
When the 4th the chief judge of the 10th High Criminal Court (HCC) asked me for my last words on the night of November, I said “Of course, I demand my acquittal and immediate release” as I believed that this was the only decision that can be made in a court case to which I was included by a police conspiracy.
And obviously, I ground this belief and trust in my own truth, I still do!
It was past 23:00h when our last statements were taken and we were brought back to the cells prepared for us –the captives– seven floors under the courthouse in Çaglayan.
Since all cells were locked up by the soldiers who left after their working day was over, we were kept in the corridors on chairs reserved for them.
After a stressful and long day, it took 01:30 am in the morning when we were standing at the courtroom eventually.
During the eight years of our imprisonment, having hearings only twice a year has turned our detention to an execution in itself.
Following the Constitutional Court’s decision on long detentions, High Criminal Courts were seeing all the cases hastily.
Because the decision the Constitutional Court gave only a year to the government for the procedural arrangements, making it clear that such cases should be closed in a hurry.
This creates an adverse condition which is forced upon the detained and their lawyers whose proceedings continue until the midnight –despite the exhaustion it brings after a full tiring working day.
However, as the evidence shows, the decisions on our cases have been taken well before our hearing, behind closed doors, visible in the impatient attitude of the judges.
Why to prolong a court hearing when a verdict has already been reached and has been made ready on a memory stick!
Moreover, this very court turned our detentions into executions during all those years, by prolonging the proceedings.
When we entered the courtroom, two things caught my attention which additionally strained an already cold and stressed atmosphere.
First, a human barricade of police officers was placed in front of the sections where our families sit.
And a second barricade of soldiers, those who brought the captives like us from Edirne, Tekirdag and Gebze prisons in front of the section where we remain.
When we were asked to stand up for the reading of the verdicts, I felt that the tension reached its boiling point.
It was the end of an eight-year court case during which we were kept in prison. The indictment bill that we were included under a conspiracy manufactured by the police itself, that connects neither me nor any of the other accused for leading a crime organization by any hard evidence, other than a few unconnected pages was a mere copy of the police records.
The judges of the 10th High Criminal Court, relying on the maxim “Justice is the foundation of the state,” signed a historical murder of jurisprudence.
I got angry with myself for believing that they would not ignore the ongoing injustice done to us, that they would not sign such a murder of jurisprudence based on the flimsy sheets of paper fabricated by the police.
Inasmuch as the Martial Courts, State Security Courts and now the Special High Criminal Court decisions displayed a long long list of murders of jurisprudence in political cases.
Inasmuch as it was beyond naïve to expect these judges and public prosecutors would act as practitioners of law under conditions where unfairness and injustice flourished, where the judicial system collapsed.
Still, one relies on one’s own truth, believing in it so much to hold on to such naïve expectations.
However, I must express very clearly; despite this murder of jurisprudence I have experienced raises my anger and rage to their highest…I will never forget:
…seeing my sister Sengül and other families’ weep that filled up the courtroom, and how my lawyers among whom was my sister, collapsed on their desks…
…my friends in my ward holding me tight and sharing their rage, anger and pain with me when I return to the prison in the wee hours of the morning…
…noticing my dear Gülazer, weeping silently next to my bed… that I will never forget!
And although the words of the chief judge implying that the legal procedure was not over after reading their decision sounded like making fun of us all.
I believe that every/thing has not ended, yet.
Because I know that since 2006, political cases in courts are based on false evidence manufactured the police!
Mass prosecution of people with bag full of fabricated evidence has been a common practice in the recent years.
With this practice, all of us, journalists, intellectuals, writers, students, politicians, lawyers sitting in the suspects’ bench brought there with a police conspiracy are treated as enemy.
The infinitely long imprisonment sentences taken in a revengeful fury are a recognition of the oppressive and fascist articles in the criminal law and overall the Special High Courts codified in the Terrorism Act.
When the mentality is “maximum sentences, for maximum number of years…”
The court decisions were made accordingly.
This Tuesday, I worked on the 57 pages of the court ruling, written in 10- or 11-size font, to calculate the total sentence given to me.
Although sentences were delivered for being a member of a criminal organization without being a member…
Let alone not being a member, the sentence was delivered for being the leader of a criminal organization; many cases were similar to mine.
Although I strictly reject this decision…
I thought I should know exactly the sentence given to me.
I underlined only the sections related to me with a red pen, and listed them on another paper.
Even this took 3 hours.
Clearly, it was not possible for the judges of the 10th High Criminal Court to reach these decisions and write them down at the hearing that lasted for 2.5 hours between 23:00 to 01:30 that night.
When I was adding up the sentences I realized that, despite the fact that when I and my partner Ibrahim Çiçek were taken into custody our ID cards, driving lisences, bank cards, and my taxpayer identification were collected…
And despite the fact that they were proven to be legit by the expert report…
We both received sentences for using fake identification.
“5 – Suspects Ali Hidir Polat, Ibrahim Çiçek, Naci Güner, Arif Çelebi, Bayram Namaz, Füsun Erdogan and Ziya Ulusoy forged official documents subject to the Criminal Law Art. 220/5 and by Art. 240/1 on the conduct, intensity and the conditions that the crime is committed to be sentenced to 3 years in prison, and since it was committed as an activity of a terrorist organization in accordance with the law No. 3713 Art.5, sentences increased by a 1/2, according to Criminal Law Art.62, considering the effect of the future of the suspects it was decided to deduce 1/6 of the sentence making a 3 year 9 months for each, Criminal Law Art. 53/1-2-3 to be executed, after the execution of sentences according to Criminal Law 58/9 and law No. 5275 Art 108/4 probation conditions to be applied” (4 November 2013, TR Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court records, p.5)
When I was listening this at the sentencing trial, I had given up thinking that I was subjected to this sentence just because I was declared the leader of a criminal organization.
But when I calculated the total sentence, I noticed that this was not the case, but to me and to Ibrahim, a sentence was given particularly because we were accused of using forged identity documents.
This is just a simple example of the wholesale practice that we were exposed to during the legal procedure.
While in fact, this was not just a “minute” example…
Because the political police has once made an enactment on us!
The judges of the 10th High Criminal Court were left nothing but to execute this enactment.
The fact that I was repetitively rejected for a reasoning to the refusal of my appeal to be released from prison for the last seven years of trials must be because of that…
They insisted on this attitude of mass trial.
Apparently, they did have a ground to insist.
It was to announce “the suspects Ali Hidir Polat, Arif Çelebi, Bayram Namaz, Füsun Erdogan, Ibrahim Çiçek and Ziya Ulusoy” as the leaders of an organization first, and then to announce for each of us a life sentence, plus 789 years 7 months of imprisonment and 1,263,330 TL fine.
They made their decision, and singed yet another murder of jurisprudence.
On my behalf, I think that this decision is highly debatable in many grounds.
But for this week, I will remain with this.
Faced with the decision that I briefly summarized above, what will you –primarily my lawyer colleagues and human rights defenders and the rest of the public do?
Will you accept this unfairness, this murder of jurisprudence?
The women members of the PJAK went on to a 3-day hunger strike in all prisons to protest the death sentences being executed during the recent years of the Iranian regime, 4 Kurds 3 of whom politicians were among them, and the wall of shame being built at the Rojava border between Kurdish peoples.
In the prison we have been kept, 37 friends were investigated by the prison directorate for joining to the hunger strike on 8 November.
* Füsun Erdogan, 9 November 2013, Gebze Women’s Closed Prison