May 4, 2015

Lawyers of imprisoned Turkish judge to challenge ‘ludicrous’ terror case

The legal team for judge Mustafa Başer has filed an appeal over his arrest on audacious terror charges, after following standard procedure and ordering the release of a jailed media boss and officers last week.

“The case file features nothing but the rulings made by our client, which are completely legal and within standard procedure,” expressed Lawyer Hacer Yılmaz, in her statement in front of the Istanbul Court on Monday, adding that they would challenge the arrest at the High Court of Appeals.

The legal saga became a full blown scandal when Bakırköy’s 2nd High Criminal Court ordered the arrest of the Istanbul 29th Court of First Instance Judge Metin Özçelik and Istanbul 32nd Court of First Instance Judge Mustafa Başer last Thursday. Both are being tried for ‘attempting to destroy the Turkish government’ and ‘being members of an armed terrorist group.’ The terror charges are well regarded as ludicrous and a pretext frequently used in government-backed cases to persecute opposition.

Their crime was accepting the recusation and ordering releasing Samanyolu Broadcast Group CEO Hidayet Karaca and dozens of police officers, all under arrest over similar terror charges, and accusation of being a member to the ”parallel state” a term coined by President Erdoğan himself in describing the Gülen Movement, consisting of followers and sympathizers of Islamic Scholar Fethullah Gülen.

In her statement, Yılmaz lambasted the head of the court’s haphazard argument saying that the so-called terror group, which was not even named, was based entirely on a four minute sermon delivered by Fethullah Gülen, which was not even successfully transcribed, due to the fact that neither the police nor the head of the court could understand some of the words.

Furthermore there is nothing in the sermon “that would implicate any order or superiority over our client or the other arrested individual Metin Özçelik or inference to the ruling [the recusation or release] they have made,” says Yılmaz.

Yılmaz further broke down the case piece by piece, adding that there was no “chain of command, political, economic or physical connections,” which are essentials for anything to be legally categorized as a terror group; “There is only a ruling which just simply did not benefit the government’s agenda. And now Turkey’s judges are in prison.”

Lawyer Hacer Yılmaz also emphasized that her client Judge Başer was proud and defiant, even though his freedoms have been taken away, “having made a historic ruling symbolic of freedom, independence of judiciary and abiding of law and regulations.”

Yılmaz emphasized that the High Court of Appeals was legally responsible for handling the case and called for justice, “Let’s see if procedure is applied fair and legally. Up until now it hasn't... There is no law or procedure in any country which would justify the arrest of a judge over a ruling he made.”

Published on BGNNews, 04 May 2015, Monday