ISTANBUL (Agos) — Nationalist Turkish Party Istanbul Chair Bilal Gökçeyurt and the chair of so-called Turan Organization Ercan Uçar have been acquitted in the case of the threat against Agos. Lawyer for the publication Hakan Bakircioglu has objected to the ruling.
On April 24, 2015, a black wreath was put in front of the office of Agos newspaper and a declaration titled as “One night, we might come to visit you unexpectedly” was read. Agos newspaper filed a criminal complaint against this threat. The trial was held today.
Nationalist Turkish Party Istanbul Chair Bilal Gökçeyurt and the chair of so-called Turan Organization Ercan Uçar have been acquitted on the ground that “there is no element of a crime”.
On behalf of complainant Agos newspaper, editor-in-chief Yetvart Danzikyan attended the hearing.
Speaking during the hearing, Danzikyan said: “They had put a black wreath, while the office was closed. We saw it in the morning. Then, we saw that they released a video about their action titled as ‘One night, we might come to visit you unexpectedly’. We filed a criminal complaint. There had been similar actions when Hrant Dink was working in Agos. You know what happened to Hrant Dink. Thus, we considered this action as a threat.”
The suspects claimed that they exercised their right to democratic protest.
Agos’ lawyer Hakan Bakircioglu objected to the ruling on the ground that it violates the law. He stated that the acquittal openly violates the law and rule, since there is solid evidence showing that the suspects committed the crimes of threatening and insulting.
In the indictment issued by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s office, it was stated that the suspects regard Agos as responsible for Armenia’s actions in Karabakh, though the newspaper has no influence over the actions of the Armenian state.
It was also stated that the suspects committed the crimes of threatening and insulting by reminding Hrant Dink with the title of “One night, we might come to visit you unexpectedly” and releasing their press statement on the same day. The prosecution demanded prison sentence for the suspects on the charges of threatening and insulting.
Following “the case of black wreath”, RSF Turkey Branch made a statement via social media: “The threat against Agos goes unpunished and it is troubling. This ruling encourages similar attacks.”