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"A Bittersweet Happiness" in Turkey—Professor Chris Stephenson Acquitted

Updated: Mar 12, 2022

Chris Stephenson, who was detained and sued on the charge of “terrorist organization propaganda” for having a Newroz notice of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in his bag in front of the Çağlayan Courthouse, has been acquitted in the first hearing, Bianet reports.

Stephenson appeared before the judge at the Istanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court. The prosecutor stated that the concrete elements of the crime weren't constituted and subsequently, the chief judge returned acquittal.

Speaking to Bianet after the hearing, Yaman Akdeniz from Istanbul Bilgi University, Faculty of Law noted that the indictment shouldn’t have had to be admitted to begin with. He said, “It is understood that this lawsuit is brought to intimidate academics to not criticize the government and not support Kurdish movement.”

“Sebnem, Erol, Ahmet are imprisoned unjustly,” Stephenson continued. “Justice has been served. I am glad but this is a bittersweet happiness. Justice is needed by others, too."

“Sebnem, Erol and Ahmet, too, are imprisoned unjustly. Our goal is to achieve peace. The cities are being burned down, people get trapped under rubble. Our aim was peace, that’s why we came here. They are trying to have this be forgotten by these investigations. We will not forget about peace; we will continue to long for it.”

Chris Stephenson was taken into custody at Istanbul Justice Palace in Çağlayan on March 15 where he had gone to support three academics detained because of the Academics for Peace/Istanbul group’s declaration.

Stephenson was released on March 16, and he appeared before the prosecutor but was taken to Kumkapi Repatriation Center over demand for deportation. Stephenson left for the UK on the same day.


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