Turkish investigative journalist Ahmet Sik has been in prison for nearly four months, accused on terrorism charges for tweeting criticisms of the Erdogan-led Government.
Today he was acquitted of a previous charge - but he took the chance in the courtroom to attack Turkey's controversial justice system
The video in Turkish is here
Ahmet Sik 12 April 2017, OdaTV trial.
Turkish investigative journalist Ahmet Sik attended the last hearing of the OdaTV trial today.
He has been in jail for four months in another case. This trial should take place in the next ten days.
Today in Caglayan Courthouse, after a couple of hours of deliberations, the judge asked for the last words of 13 defendants.
Ahmet Sik said:
“If I said what I am really thinking, it would be the subject of another court case. I am referring to the judiciary who wrote my new indictment. This courthouse has become a symbol of the graveyard of justice. The gravediggers are the judges and prosecutors themselves. At the entrance of this courthouse, you can see the statues of Lady Justice. She is holding scales. Supposedly, these scales are the symbol for justice.
“But it is a fact that the scales don’t weigh anything for those looking for justice in this graveyard.
“Actually, these are scales for judges and prosecutors; on one side, there is honour and integrity, and on the other side there is lack of honour and improbity. For these judges and prosecutors, the latter always weighs more.”
After Ahmet’s words, the judge asked for a recess.
On his return, the judge ruled to acquit all 13 defendants in the OdaTV case.
The case has first started in 2011 when Ahmet and his colleagues were detained for a year, accused of being members of a clandestine terrorist organisation, which was later found out to be fictional.
As Ahmet was leaving the courtroom to be taken back to jail, his supporters were shouting: “Ahmet will be free, he will write again.” Ahmet stopped the military police dragging him outside and turned to the spectators and said:
“This decision should be a lesson for the judges and prosecutors who wrote the [new] indictment against [us]. We will achieve a life where our children’s smiles will be real. This mafia government, this organised evil, will get the ending it deserves. They will face the inevitable.”
Previously, Ahmet has used his time in the courthouse to launch attacks on the Turkish regime. In February he stated:
"We [the journalists] were tried in courts because we refused to bow down to a government which has normalised totalitarianism. We chased the truth. The biggest legacy we inherited is the idea that saying what the powerful wants told is not journalism. The people who taught us this were or are still being punished with jail or exile. When this was not enough, they were silenced with bombs or bullets. The fight waged by the powerful against journalists in order to censor the truth has been going on since the dawn of journalism in this land.
"But this fight is futile. Because, whoever you are, you cannot fight an idea that has truth at its base. If you think you’re fighting it, you should know that you cannot win. You will lose again and again.”
Turkey currently imprisons almost half of all detained journalists worldwide. At least 134 journalist are currently in jail in Turkey, all of them under anti-state charges.