On February 10th, 2016, the former chair of Judges for Judges, Gerritjan Van Oven observed the second hearing in the criminal trial against the judges Baser and Öczelik in Ankara (Turkey).
Judges for Judges has been following their cases since their arrest and detention in May 2015 (see for more information: http://www.rechtersvoorrechters.nl/judges-for-judges-concerned-by-the-arrest-and-ongoing-detention-of-two-turkish-judges/).
IAJ Honorary President Mr. Gerhard Reissner observed the trial as well, he had been also present at the hearing of January 21st.
Although three days were earmarked for this trial, it was postponed after the first day. After motions of the defense lawyers concerning the competency of the court were denied earlier that day finally all the lawyers stepped down and the two accused judges remained without defense lawyers. Due to the type of the offenses the two judges are suspected of a defense lawyer is necessary, so the trial had to be adjourned. The prosecutor put forward a motion to keep the judges in detention. Both of them delivered in response a long and impressive argumentation showing why there is no legal basis to keep them in prison.
In spite of their arguments, after a break the court announced that the accused judges should remain in detention and that they had 15 days to reorganize their defense otherwise a court appointed defense counsel would be assigned.
The court also announced which witnesses the court is going to hear. The two accused judges made clear that they wanted to be present during the questioning of the witnesses and that they also want to have the possibility to ask them questions in order to defend themselves.
The court made it possible that the accused could see their families, which had traveled from Istanbul to Ankara to follow the hearing, among them the wife of defendant Öczelik, a medical doctor, who used to work for the Bezmialem Vakif University Hospital but who was fired without reasoning but right after the arrest of her husband and the couple´s 5 year old son, who was probably for the same reason expelled from his kindergarten.
The observers also had a short possibility to speak with the accused judges and their families.
The next hearing will take place March 14th, Judges for Judges plans to send an observer again.