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Sibel Ozbudun is Being Tried - Again

Sibel Ozbudun is Being Tried - Again

Julie Webb-Pullman

Sibel Ozbudun, Turkish writer, anthropologist and retired academic, is due to face an Ankara court again on April 20, 2016 - this time on the charge “that she is making propaganda of the ‘armed terror organization, PKK/KCK' through postings on her Facebook page.”

Ms Özbudun had also been charged with an “incohate offence” (article 214/1 of Turkish Penal Code) relating to Facebook postings of a photo and a poem by famous Turkish poet Can Yucel, but was acquitted in a court appearance in March 2016.

The photograph that landed her in court in March is like thousands seen in news reports from every media agency large and small, as well as on millions of Facebook pages: a person with a covered face, and something like a molotov cocktail in his hand, with a protest in the background.

Both the logic and the legal basis of the Public Prosecutor defy reason. They said, "Since the person in question is a retired academic having many students, and since masked people do now and then cause damage to the police, to public buildings and to cars using molotovs, stones and sticks in the country, the act of the suspect is prone to cause immediate danger, and should be punished according to the article 214/1 and 53/1 of the Turkish penal code.”

A retired academic by definition does not have ANY students, so there goes the first argument.

Since people wearing jeans and boots also “…do now and then cause damage to the police, to public buildings and to cars…” with their hands and feet, does this mean that photos of people wearing jeans and boots cannot be posted on Facebook without risking imprisonment?

Where, precisely, is the immediate danger? Since when can people be charged with something that has not even been shown to have resulted in an offence and for which there is NO evidence presented that it reasonably MIGHT result in an offence?

One hopes that the prosecution’s failure to meet the minimum legal threshhold is why the charge was thrown out – and that the upcoming charge will meet a similar fate.

"This acquittal demonstrates once again the importance of local and international solidarity," Ms Özbudun said, referring to the international efforts made on her behalf to publicise the 'lawfare' of which she is a victim, which seeks to criminalise those engaging in legitimate social and political expression.

It seems international attention will again be required at the Ankara Adliyesi 2. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi at 9am on April 20, to protect these rights.

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