Sevan Nişanyan’s prison sentence has been increased to 11 years and 8 months. According to Nişanyan’s lawyer Murat Akçı, if the Constitutional Court does not produce an expected ruling, Nişanyan might stay in prison for years. There is not a single other case in which a person is held in a closed prison for the crime Nişanyan is charged with.
Sevan Nişanyan, imprisoned at the Aydın Yenipazar Prison at the moment, was sentenced in a different case to a total of 5 years 2 months 15 days imprisonment and given an additional fine of 12.600 TL by the Selçuk 2. Criminal Court of First Instance for opposing the Code of Protection of Cultural and Natural Properties (KTVKK). With the addition of this sentence, Nişanyan’s total prison sentence now stands at 11 years 8 months. Nişanyan’s lawyer Murat Akçı has stated that they will appeal these rulings as well.
Number of cases unknown
In March, the sentence passed for the same charge was reversed by the Supreme Court of Appeals, however, following a reassessment of the four files by the local court, Nişanyan was found guilty of “intentionally causing damage to immovable cultural assets under protection”. Akçı explained that they did not even know the number of cases filed against Nişanyan on such charges, because regional protection decisions that form the basis of such charges are taken without being served to the person in question. Therefore, the person who is sentenced does not even know which of his or her acts was deemed to be within the scope of crime.
Akçı appealed to the Constitutional Court (AYM) for a sentence Nişanyan received for the same charges. Akçı explains that the AYM had previously quashed a similar ruling, but that a legal vacuum that remains because of the failure to amend the law leads the Supreme Court of Appeals to approve the same rulings. According to Akçı, if the Constitutional Court does not produce the expected ruling, Nişanyan might remain in prison for years. There is not a single other case in which a person is held in a closed prison for the crime Nişanyan is charged with. Akçı believes that this situation represents the ‘success’ of those who want to silence Sevan Nişanyan.
Nişanyan has been in prison for a year
A case was filed against Nişanyan who completed the construction of a 40-squaremeter house on a plot of land he owned, and located a kilometer away from the Şirince Village of İzmir, despite the site being twice officially sealed off, on charges that the plot was within a protected area. When the Supreme Court of Appeals approved the decision, Nişanyan received a 2-year prison sentence. Nişanyan entered prison on 2 January 2014, and a short time after was exiled to a closed prison, and forced to change prisons four times for “security” reasons. During the time he has been in prison, Nişanyan received further sentences of 2 years 10 months for opposing the Building Code, and 1 year 8 months sentence for opposing the KVTKK, resulting in a total sentence of 6 years 6 months.
Nişanyan also has a 2 year 6 months imprisonment sentence for opposing the KTVKK on appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeals. Another sentence of Nişanyan on appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeals is the 13,5 month-sentence he received for “overtly belittling religious values adopted by a section of the public” on charges of “insulting the Prophet Muhammad”.