Court refuses to release OdaTV suspects, citing TÜBİTAK report

September 07, 2012, Friday/ 16:22:00

An İstanbul court on Thursday refused to release three suspects in the OdaTV news portal case, citing a recent report released by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).

The court said the report does not provide evidence that will make the release of the suspects possible.

OdaTV owner Soner Yalçın and journalists Barış Pehlivan and Barış Terkoğlu are the jailed suspects in the case. They stand accused of membership in a terrorist organization and obtaining and publishing confidential state documents. The news portal is known for its pro-Ergenekon publications.

Ergenekon is a terrorist organization accused of working to overthrow the government.

Last week, lawyers for the three suspects asked the İstanbul 16th High Criminal Court to release their clients from prison pending trial. They told the court that a recent report by TÜBİTAK suggests that the suspects are innocent and that therefore they need to be released from prison.

In its report sent to the İstanbul court last week, TÜBİTAK said it failed to conclude whether or not documents seized from the OdaTV news portal were sent via a computer virus.

The court said the suspects alleged that the documents seized from the OdaTV news portal were sent through the use of a computer virus but that these allegations were neither confirmed nor proven false by the research body, so the strong evidence of their involvement in criminal acts stands.

Previously, suspects in the case had denied preparing and storing those documents and claimed that the documents were sent through the use of a computer virus. In January, the İstanbul 16th High Criminal Court asked TÜBİTAK -- a semi-independent scientific research body -- to determine if the documents were really sent to the computers of the news portal through the use of a virus.

TÜBİTAK sent a lengthy report concerning the findings of its investigation to the court last week. According to the 339-page report, TÜBİTAK experts discovered viruses on the computers, but their examination did not conclude that the documents were sent to the computers via a virus.

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