December 16, 2014

Right to defense of detained journalists Dumanlı and Karaca violated

Fikret Duran, the lawyer of Samanyolu Broadcasting Group General Manager Hidayet Karaca, who was taken into custody along with the Zaman newspaper's editor-in-chief in a government-backed crackdown, has announced that her client's right to a defense has been limited by an order from the prosecutor to reduce the numbers of lawyers working on the case.

Duran complained that such a decision to put a limitation on the number of the lawyers who defend their client is against the criminal law procedure and that they will file a criminal complaint regarding the violation.

Dumanlı and Karaca, who were detained on Sunday along with 25 others in a police operation that targeted journalists, TV scriptwriters and former police officers, were referred to Eyüp State Hospital early on Tuesday for a medical check-up and then they were taken to İstanbul Courthouse.

Duran made a statement after he left the courthouse on Tuesday and stressed that they failed to meet with the prosecutor, adding: "While the lawyers have a right to meet with the prosecutors at the courthouse to ask about the investigation files of their clients, this right has been limited in this case. The prosecutor is being elevated to a position of untouchable."

"When we [a group of lawyers] requested to have a meeting with our client Karaca, we were informed that only three lawyers would be allowed to see Karaca. Then we questioned the legal source of such an instruction and we were told that the prosecutor made the decision. The criminal law procedure regulating the subject is very clear. There is no such restriction regarding the issue. It prescribes that at least three lawyers have such a right. It means the number might also be 13 or more. It is a clear restriction imposed on right to defense. Now, we are considering to use the right to not speak in the interrogation," Duran noted.

Dumanlı's lawyer: No info given about charges against Dumanlı

Dumanlı's lawyer, Gazi Tanır, also highlighted that they have been allowed limited examinations into the investigation file, and they do not really know what their client is being charged with.

"All of those detainees who gave their testimonies were released because there is no offense that can be leveled against them in the investigation file," Tanır added.

Recalling that he met with Dumanlı on Monday evening, Tanır stated: "He feels good but he is a bit offended. As you know, we went to the İstanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office on Friday in order to learn whether any investigation is being carried out against Dumanlı and others. The chief prosecutor [Hadi Salihoğlu] told us there was not any investigation linked to them. However, one day after this assurance, an investigation into Dumanlı was launched and a warrant was even issued for his arrest. The worst situation now for us is to face restricted access to the investigation file. Since we do not know about the offense being attributed to Mr. Ekrem, we cannot tell him about the accusations that are being leveled against him," Tanır cited.

Foreign Ministry kicks off smear campaign against Dumanlı in Brussels

The Foreign Ministry has launched a smear campaign against Dumanlı in Brussels by referring to the İstanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office's claims that Dumanlı did not turn himself to the Prosecutor's Office even though he was invited to come to the office; accordingly, that is why the police officers had to go to the Zaman building to detain Dumanlı, in line with the prosecutor's instructions.

However, Dumanlı's lawyers have refuted the claims, recalling that Dumanlı was told last Friday that there was not an investigation into him.

Published on Today's Zaman, 16 December 2014, Tuesday