INTRODUCTION: Turkey's highest judicial body, the Constitutional Court, abuse of power, embezzlement and nepotism.
CU PULL OUT TO SV Ex-Minister Hilmi Isguzar entering courtroom and taking seat.
CU PULL BACK GV Presiding judge and other court officials.
SV Mr. Isguzar standing, answering questions put by judges.
SV Presiding judge PAN ACROSS other judges then TO legal counsel and reporters.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Turkey's highest judicial body, the Constitutional Court, abuse of power, embezzlement and nepotism. Mr. Hilmi Isguzar, former Minister of Social Security in the Social Democrat Cabinet of former Prime Bulent Ecevit, is the sixth Cabinet Minister to be tried for misuse of authority by the Supreme Court since the Turkish Republic was established 58 years ago. Fourteen other defendants were charged along with Mr. Isguzar.
SYNOPSIS: The former Minister appeared on Thursday (26 March) facing charges on five claims of abuse of power in financial decisions of his ministry, embezzlement and committing nepotism. The financial decisions are alleged to have caused a loss of state funds. He faces a minimum of 11 to a maximum of 29 years if convicted.
If convicted on the embezzlement charge he will also have to pay back five times the financial gains he allegedly made for himself and his associates.
The case against Mr. Isguzar was put together by an investigative committee selected by the five-man ruling National Security Council, which seized power last September. Thirty-five former members of parliament have been jailed since the coup, and the ruling Generals have been attacked for their human rights record.
In former trials of Cabinet Ministers over misuse of authority, only one, a Naval Minister, was sentenced to a prison term and that was in 1928.