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Why no one should feel safe in Turkey 29 octobre 2012

Posted by Acturca in Turkey / Turquie.
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Financial Times (UK)  Monday, October 29, 2012, p. 6
Letters to the Editor

From Dr A. Yasin Türker *

Sir, I am one of the 328 victims who have been sentenced to 16 years in prison in the « sledgehammer » case, after a year-long detention, on charges of attempting to overthrow the government of Turkey through force and violence in 2003. The case was based on unprinted and unsigned digital fabricated files. No credible evidence or eyewitness supported the indictment.

I have been accused and convicted because of the appearance of my name, as a lieutenant commander in 2003, in two of these Microsoft Word files. Independent US, German and Turkish forensic experts and universities have verified that these digital files were forged. They could not have been created or edited in 2003 because they contain the digital fingerprints of MS Office 2007.

The trial took place at a court located inside a top-security prison campus out of the public eye and without attorney-client confidentiality. The burden of proof was shifted to the defendants, who were expected to prove their innocence.

The court refused to investigate the authenticity of digital files offered as evidence by the prosecution and refused to call any defendants’ witnesses. No opportunity was given to the defendants to cross-examine the prosecutors’ experts. The judges refused only one request from the prosecution while accepting only six of 980 requests from the defendants. The job of judges should be to apply law. The great English philosopher John Locke propounded this fundamental truth in 1690: « Wherever law ends, tyranny begins. »

In its recent progress report on Turkey, the EU underlined its concerns regarding the shortcomings of Turkish judicial proceedings, citing our case as an example. The UN working group on arbitrary detention is currently examining our case and will issue its findings in December.

Rule of law is not an arid legal doctrine, but the foundation of a fair and just society, a guarantee of responsible government, and an important contributor to economic growth. Thus, no one should feel safe in Turkey until the real criminals who fabricated these files are brought to justice.

* A. Yasin Türker,
Captain, Turkish Navy,
Maltepe Military Prison,
Istanbul, Turkey

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