Court rejects release requests of ‘Tahşiyeciler’ suspects

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İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court on Friday rejected the release requests of the suspects in “Tahşiyeciler” case, in which dozens of suspects, including journalists, are facing charges of membership in a terrorist organization for allegedly framing the al-Qaeda-affiliated group Tahşiyeciler.

On Friday’s trial, the lawyers of the suspects who are jailed pending trial, asked their clients to be released. There are currently a total of 33 suspects, 10 of them arrested pending trial, including Samanyolu Broadcasting Group General Manager Hidayet Karaca, involved in the case. Karaca’s lawyer said that his client has been jailed pending trial for a year and a half and said he should be released as there are not any evidence requiring his clients’ imprisonment. However the court rejected the request and said that there were not any change in risk of fleeing.

The court postponed the trial on June 27.

In an operation on Dec. 14, 2014, former Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı, Karaca and a number of soap opera scriptwriters and police officers were detained on charges of terrorism and membership in an organization that conspired against Tahşiyeciler, based on a speech by Turkish Islamic Scholar Fethullah Gülen in 2009 in which the scholar warned against a group that “might” be called Tahşiyeciler and whose leader, Mehmet Doğan, had publicly praised Osama bin Laden.

The prosecutors who ordered the Dec. 14 detentions claim that following Gülen’s speech, Dumanlı ordered two columnists to write about Tahşiyeciler and that he published a news report on the speech. The allegations also claim that Samanyolu TV made implications about the group in an episode of a soap opera it broadcast. It is further claimed that the police then “unfairly” raided the group.

Previous reports by police intelligence, military intelligence and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had described Tahşiyeciler as a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda.

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