CHP MP for Istanbul Barış Yarkadaş has said that justice has been destroyed in 52 seconds in the case against Cumhuriyet.com General Editor Oğuz Güven at Çağlayan Courthouse. The 28th Heavy Penal Court sentenced Güven to 3 years, 1 month and 2 days of imprisonment.
Yarkadaş commented: “We’re doing another of our usual Tuesday meetings. Almost every Tuesday we witness a journalist, a colleague, being tried and sentenced. The cumhuriyet.com.tr website that was managed by Oğuz Güven tweeted the news that the late chief prosecutor lost his life. This tweet only stayed live for 52 seconds. It was then deleted by the editors themselves. This prosecution, which is referred to as the “52-second trial” in press history, has, unfortunately, ended in a tragicomic way. When the head of the 28th Heavy Penal Court declared its decision, I started a stopwatch. The judge read this decision exactly in 52 seconds. In fact, justice has been destroyed in 52 seconds in the 28th Heavy Penal Court. Law has been dismembered “.
After the trial, Oğuz Güven and TGC (Turkish Journalist Association) Board Member Sibel Güneş gave a press statement outside of the court. Musa Kart, the cartoonist of the Cumhuriyet Newspaper, and Fatih Polat, the editor-in-chief of Universal Publishing, attended at the announcement. Oğuz Güven found the decision “ridiculous” in his speech after the trial was finished. TGC Board Member Sibel Güneş also criticized the decision and said journalists were under heavy pressure.
Yarkadaş continued: “In order to be able to say that the decision made in this case is fair and legal, one has to have lost one’s mind. On the previous day, AKP leader Erdoğan had targeted journalists again and told them that they would be silenced. Obviously, every word from the administration echoes very quickly in the corridors of Çağlayan Courthouse and opposing journalists are being punished for 3 years, 1 month and 2 days, which we cannot in any way explain as decisions of intellect, logic and conscience.
Once again I say this decision is not legal and journalism is not a crime. Do not approach journalists as enemies. I say: respect criticism and facts.”
Yarkadaş also asked the Ministry of Justice about a proposal for a “ban on reading” of liberal and pro-democracy newspapers at Bolu Prison, and complained to RTÜK about Rasim Ozan Kütahyalı’s statement about our Bosnian citizens at Beyaz TV.