Decision of acquittal reversed in the case of threat against Agos


By Uygar Gültekin

ISTANBUL (Agos) — The people who put black wreath in front of Agos on April 24, 2015 and made threatening statements were acquitted. The Court of Appeals reverse the decision of acquittal on the ground that the statement incite hatred and enmity.

Nationalist Turkey Party Istanbul Chair Bilal Gökçeyurt and the chair of so-called Turan Organization Ercan Uçar put black wreath in front of Agos on April 24, 2015, the centennial of Armenian Genocide, and made a press statement including threat messages. Legal action was taken and on November 18, 2016, the court acquitted the suspects with the claim that there is no element of crime. Agos appealed the decision.

The Court of Appeals reversed the acquittal. Referring to the European Convention on Human Rights, the court stated: “In most of the modern countries, words and statements harming honor and dignity, warmongering and statements leading to change the legal order by force and having the purpose of inciting hatred, discrimination, enmity and violence are not regarded as freedom of expression and such statements are deemed as crime and punished.”

The court stated that people used the slogan of “We are all Armenians” to protest the murder of Hrant Dink and the statement read by the suspects targets all who used this slogan as well as the staff and employees of Agos.

The court also noted that the group, who grounded their action on the developments in Karabakh, should have staged their protest in front of Armenian Consulate or in a public place, but instead, they had done it in front of Agos.