Zana Kibar, İstanbul – Şirin Kabakç, the Konya correspondent for now-defunct newspaper Zaman, stood accused of ‘membership in a terrorist organization’ at İstanbul 35. High Criminal Court today.
Kabakçı has been detained in Konya Prison for 18 months and appeared in court via judicial teleconferencing system SEGBİS. He argues that the charges against him are meant to suppress his journalistic work and lack a solid evidential foundation.
One aspect of the charges relies on Kabakçı’s alleged transferral of money at Bank Asya. “I don't have an account at Bank Asya,” noted Kabakçı. “It is not true that I made any transactions. There is no evidence against me, no evidence to find me guilty according to the law, or no evidence to support that I was acting with someone else's instructions. I was not a member of any association. I only did my job at Zaman newspaper. These are all my journalistic activities.”
Another aspect of the charges revolve around Kabakçı’s participation in an overseas trip. “We traveled abroad with 300 people,” Kabakçı observed. “There were many famous names that attended the trip, including Ahmet Davutoğlu [former Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Affairs] and the Justice and Development Party Konya MP, as well as the Konya mayor. Am I the only guilty one among these 300 people? If this trip is a crime, then Ahmet Davutoğlu is guilty as well.”
Kabakçı was accused of attending a protest with connections to terrorist, which he says he attended as a journalist. He noted that had he not attended the protest he would have lost his job. He became quite agitated at this point in his defense, remarking that “There is nothing against me. No evidence. Why am I here? I will lose my mind. I have 3 daughters. Is there a rule of law in this country, or not?” The presiding judge interrupted to note that Kabakçı was repeating himself, and ventured to ask whether Kabakçı was a diabetic. The judge explained that this might explain Kabakçı’s apparent anger and agitation. Kabakçı acknowledged that he is diabetic before continuing with his defense. “The 'informing letter' about me had no name, no surname on it. We don't know where this person lives, or what he does. There is no solid information in that letter.”
The court chose to adjourn the hearing until December 26, during which time Kabakçı will remain in detention, and write to Konya Police Headquarters to get the identity of the sender of the letter which accused Kabakçı of having terrorist affiliations.
Updated: November 30 2018