Thursday, October 04, 2007


Compass Direct News
A new judge has prolonged the case of two Turkish converts to Christianity after his predecessor resigned under pressure from the plaintiffs’ ultranationalist lawyer.

At a September 26 hearing, his first in the 12-month case, Judge Metin Tamirci set the Christians’ next court date for November 29. Defendants Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal had hoped for a quick dismissal of charges of insulting “Turkishness” at their last hearing on September 12 after the state prosecutor said in July that there was no evidence against them.

But Judge Neset Eren prolonged the case when he told the Silivri court, 45 miles west of Istanbul, that he was stepping down. He said he hoped to “distance the court’s decision from any form of indecision or doubt.”

Eren’s announcement came after the plaintiff’s ultranationalist lawyer, Kemal Kerincsiz, called for his resignation, accusing the judge of failing to deal with the case impartially. Kerincsiz has raised a number of cases against Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, under article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for “degrading Turkishness.”

A higher court in Bakirkoy, Istanbul accepted Eren’s resignation on September 13. Defense lawyer Haydar Polat said that despite the change of judge and a new state prosecutor, he was still 99 percent sure that his clients would be acquitted.

“There is no crime to be found, we’ll just have wait and see if the state prosecutor agrees with us,” Polat said.

Powered by ScribeFire.

No comments: