September 24, 2018
On 18 September 2018, Hanifi Bariş, lawyer and academic at the University of Aberdeen, attended his first hearing at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse. Barış was among the signatories of the Academics for Peace petition and one of many to have faced charges as a result. Detained in early July, where he was seized after reporting to a station for a statement, Barış is charged with ‘posting items of criminal content’ on social media.
Ahead of the hearing, a protest was held outside the courthouse, attended by a large number of his colleagues and academics. Some of them have never met Barış but regularly attend the hearings of fellow academics in order to show their solidarity and support. Among them was People’s Democratic Congress (HDK’s) co-spokesperson Onur Hamzaoğlu, who was himself released after five months in detention in July 2018. International observers from English PEN and Amnesty International’s Turkey office were also in attendance.
Bariş arrived from Silvri prison, accompanied four prison guards for his first hearing after more than two months in detention. His statement showed his disbelief at the treatment he had received:
I am in awe of the horrors of such a case as this… I did not think the posts I shared were a crime requiring a defence.