Lawyers for Lawyers monitored third hearing in trial of Berrak Çağlar
On 19 October 2022, representatives of Lawyers for Lawyers observed the third hearing in the trial of lawyer Berrak Çağlar who is accused of being a member of an armed terrorist organization, after expressing solidarity with her imprisoned colleague lawyers from Turkey and specifically Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal, who were on a death fast in 2020.
Berrak Çağlar is a member of the ÇHD (Progressive Lawyers Association). She is accused of being a member of an armed terrorist organization, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), under articles 53, 58 (9), 63 and 314 (2) of the Turkish Criminal Code and article 5 (1) of Turkey’s Anti-Terrorism Law no. 3713. If found guilty, Berrak Çaglar could be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of 7.5 to 10 years.
Lawyers for Lawyers, Avocats Européens Démocrates (AED) and several local lawyers monitored the first and second hearing in the trial on the 31st of March 2021 and the 14th of June 2022 respectively. The first hearing focused on the evidence against Berrak Çağlar that was gathered after an investigation was started into her, the interviews and speeches Berrak Çağlar conducted in solidarity with imprisoned lawyers from Turkey and about the situation and latest developments in relation to lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal. The lawyers requested to examine the tape recordings of the phone calls that were included in the indictment. Furthermore, the travel ban that was imposed on Berrak Çağlar was lifted during the hearing.
The second hearing coincided with the birthday of the late lawyer Ebru Timtik. As part of her defence statement Berrak Çağlar remembered Ebru Timtik. The chief judge argued that Ebru Timtik had no relevance to Berrak Çağlar’s case and stated that the court room was a place to defend herself and that there was no room for propaganda. Berrak Çağlar and her lawyers responded that she is accused of standing in solidarity with Ebru Timtik and that this is deemed unlawful.
At the end of the hearing the judge underlined that all the additional records and documents will be added to case file and will be individually assessed. Moreover, the chief judge announced that the court received the tape recordings of the phone calls that were included in the indictment from the Prosecutor’s Office just before the second hearing, and that the lawyers will obtain a copy of the tape recordings upon request.
The third hearing of 19 October
The third hearing turned out to be very short. The court paid most attention to certain procedural developments in the case against the husband of Berrak Çağlar, which although unrelated on the substance of the matter, has been dealt with from the start in parallel with the case against Berrak Çağlar herself.
For the case against Berrak Çağlar there were no substantial developments. Noteworthy from a procedural perspective however, was the replacement of the trial prosecutor by the prosecutor who was in charge of the whole prosecution and eventually filed the indictment.
Pending further investigations against the husband of Berrak Çağlar the case was suspended until 12 January 2023.
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