World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has said suspects who have a “respected” position in the eyes of the public should be tried without arrest, referring to the imprisonment of dozens of senior military officers as part of ongoing coup investigations.
“I think it would be more correct for those who have served at certain [high-level] posts and who have a respected position in the eyes of the public to be tried without arrest after all evidence against them is collected. Even if they were involved in actions against us [the government] and even if there were strong evidence backing up the accusations, they should be tried without being arrested and when they're found guilty they can be told to go to prison,” Arınç said on Thursday during a television program.
Arınç's remarks have been met with criticism, with many law experts saying that treating the "respected" people in society differently from other suspects is not possible or right in legal terms. According to retired military judge Faik Tarımcıoğlu a “respected person” cannot be defined in law. Being respected is a relative term and is not acceptable in legal terms, he said. “Who will determine if someone is a respected figure? Arınç's remarks need clarification. I know Arınç has a good knowledge of the law. I think he meant something different from this,” Tarımcıoğlu further noted.
Retired public prosecutor Reşat Petek said that Arınç can make any statement he wants as a politician. However, what he said is not true in legal terms. “The law has a universal principle of equality, and if a person commits a crime, his personality, identity or position in society does not matter. He needs to be investigated and tried like everyone else,” Petek said.
As for Arınç's remark that even if there were strong evidence backing up accusations, people should be tried without being arrested and if found guilty can be sent to prison, Petek said this should be true for everyone and not only for those “respected” in society. “If detention pending trial is required, then treating ‘respected' people differently would not be fair. On the other hand, releasing people pending trial should be the common practice. The decision to jail suspects should be given after all the evidence is gathered. Not privilege, but more sensitivity should be shown on this issue [of jailing suspects pending trial],” he noted.
Arınç said coup-related cases are being seen in courts for the first time in the history of Turkey and this pushes judges to be brave and determined and these could be the reasons why judges prefer suspects to be arrested pending trial.
“If Turkey has come to a stage where it can question sad incidents that happened in its history [such as coups], we owe this success to our judges. However, the heart-rending thing is the length of arrests pending trial. This cause affects all, including professors, generals, journalists and every other person,” Arınç said.
The deputy prime minister added that according to his experiences as a lawyer -- one who participated in trials for 25 years -- all the evidence gets collected in an indictment and suspects are able to defend themselves, then the judges should give their decision on the case. Arınç was implying that continuing requests by judges for further evidence cause cases to stall and prolong arrest times.Last Mod: 09 Şubat 2013, 15:46