'A bittersweet happiness' in Turkey: Professor Chris Stephenson Acquitted

June 24, 2016

Chris Stephenson who was detained and sued on charge of “terrorist organization propaganda” for having 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 Istanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court. The prosecutor stating the concrete elements of the crime wasn’t constituted demanded the acquittal. Subsequently, the chief judge returned acquittal.


Speaking to bianet after the hearing, Professor Yaman Akdeniz from Istanbul Bilgi University, Faculty of Law noting that the indictment shouldn’t have had to be admitted to begin with spoke as follows:

“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 said the following in his press statement he issued in front of the courthouse following the acquittal:

“Justice has been served. I am glad but this is a bittersweet happiness. Justice is needed by others too. Case of many others who came here to support are continuing.

“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”.



Bilgi University academic member, Chris Stephenson was taken into custody at Istanbul Justice Palace in Çağlayan on March 15 where he came to support three academics who were detained because of Academics for Peace/Istanbul group’s declaration.


Stephenson was detained in front of the courthouse at around on charge of having Newroz invitations with signature of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Provincial Presidency.


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

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