Expression Interrupted

Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.

Mehmet Altan files case against judges who refused to implement top court judgments

Mehmet Altan files case against judges who refused to implement top court judgments

The first hearing was held on 13 October at the 4th Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals. The next hearing is set for 21 December

 

CANSU PİŞKİN

 

A case filed by academic and writer Mehmet Altan against judges who refused to implement the Constitutional Court and European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) judgments concerning his individual applications in 2018 got underway in Ankara on 13 October 2021.

 

The 4th Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals is hearing the case Altan filed against the former judges of the Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court (presiding judge Kemal Selçuk Yalçın and judge Mehmet Akif Ayaz) and the Istanbul 27th High Criminal Court (presiding judge Orkun Dağ and judge Seval Alaçam) for refusing to implement the top courts’ judgments.

 

Mehmet Altan was arrested on “coup” allegations in September 2016. On 11 January 2018, as the “Altans case” was still pending, the Constitutional Court ruled that Altan’s pre-trial detention violated his right to liberty and security and his freedom of expression and press freedom. However, both the trial court, the 26th High Criminal Court, and the next court of first instance, the 27th High Criminal Court, refused to implement the judgment and ruled for Altan’s continued pre-trial detention. Two months later, the ECtHR issued its judgment concerning Altan’s individual application, also finding that his detention violated Article 5/1 and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Mehmet Altan was finally released on 27 June 2018, when an appellate court ordered his release based on the Constitutional Court’s judgment. Eventually, Altan was acquitted of all charges against him at the retrial of the “Altans case.”

 

After Altan’s lawyer Figen Albuga Çalıkuşu filed the complaint for the compensation case, the Ministry of Treasury and Finance, which is the defendant party, reported Orkun Dağ as the person who caused the complaint. The case was filed with the 4th Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals since Dağ was appointed a member of the Supreme Court of Appeals despite his failure to implement judgments by higher courts and the complaints against him.

 

 

Judge Orkun Dağ did not attend the hearing

 

Mehmet Altan and his lawyer as well as the lawyer representing the Ministry of Treasury and Finance attended the hearing but judge Orkun Dağ and his lawyer were not present.

 

Submitting the Constitutional Court and the ECtHR’s Mehmet Altan judgments to the Chamber, lawyer Çalıkuşu said: “Despite the 11 January 2018 judgment by the Constitutional Court, the judges who have been reported repeatedly refused to implement this decision. Some of the judges on their panels wrote dissenting opinions in those decisions. However, they continued the rights violations found by the Constitutional Court and the ECtHR for a period of five-and-a-half months.” Çalıkuşu requested that the Chamber accept the case.

 

Altan said: “As an academic with a career of more than 30 years and a writer of more than 40 books, I reiterate the remarks in my petition in order not to lose my trust and respect for the law.”

 

The lawyer representing the Ministry of Treasury and Finance argued that the case was filed after the expiry of the statute of limitations and demanded that the case be dismissed.

 

The judge decided that the file be handed over to the panel following the preliminary examination and that the issue of statute of limitations would be decided on by the panel. The next hearing of the case will be held on 21 December 2021.

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