Journalist Erdal's Case Adjourned
The trial against court reporter Erdal from Zaman newspaper was postponed again. Erdal, editorial manager Beşer and Ankara correspondent Arslan are tried in a joint case because of articles on the release of detained "Ergenekon" and "Sledgehammer" defendants.
İstanbul - BIA News Center
03 February 2011, Thursday 08:24
The trial against reporter Büşra Erdal from the Zaman newspaper, the daily's Ankara correspondent Metin Arslan and editorial manager Hayri Beşer was continued on Wednesday (2 February). The journalists stand trial on the grounds of their news articles regarding various decisions of the "Ergenekon" and "Sledgehammer" Investigations regarding the releases of detained defendants.
At the second hearing before the Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court, Erdal rejected the charges pressed against her. She indicated that evidence on her behalf has not been provided and said that the referring pictures did not explain "to which terrorist organization she pointed a target".
Court reporter Erdal said in her defence that she was tried several times because of her writings but that none of the prosecutions resulted in a conviction so far. She reminded the fact that the plaintiff, judge Yılmaz Alp, made announcements on journalists on his own behalf.
Erdal emphasized that she worked as a court reporter at the very same court before. "The trial was opened upon the complaint of the judges. The prosecution could have found me any time but they did not. Evidence on my behalf has not been provided and that is a deficiency", Erdal argued.
"ECHR sees those writings within the sope of freedom of thought"
Erdal mentioned the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and claimed that this kind of writings was evaluated within the scope of freedom of thought and as not carrying any element of crime in many decisions. Since the decisions for release given by the judges and touched upon in her article "were in favour of an organization like Ergenekon, showing them as a target is not the matter of subject", she said and requested her acquittal.
The court dismissed her demand to ask the prosecution which "terrorist organization" was concerned. Editorial Manager Beşer announced that he agreed with Erdal's defence. The court decided to adjourn the case to 1 April at 9.15 am.
The trial is based on Erdal's article "The ones appointed during the HSYK crisis intervened, Sledgehammer is being covered up" published on the daily's front page on 2 April 2010. Furthermore, the charges stem from Metin Arslan's writing entitled "Mass releases were based on 'pirate decree" from 3 April 2010. Both articles dealt with the decisions to release detained defendants of the "Ergenekon" and "Sledgehammer" Investigations.
Ergenekon and Sledgehammer
The clandestine Ergenekon terrorist organization, nested within the state and the military, is charged with various crimes staged for the ultimate purpose of triggering a military coup. The "Sledgehammer" coup plan was plotted by a group of people within the armed forces in 2002/03. It was aimed at creating disorder in the country which should eventually lead to martial law and a coup. (EÇ/EÖ/VK)