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Turkey - KCK terror trial continues at Diyarbakir court

21 October 2010, Thursday

The Diyarbakir 6th High Criminal Court continued hearing suspects in the trial of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The trial began on Monday with 151 suspects, including mayors and politicians, and approximately 300 lawyers, along with many local and foreign observers closely following the case. Security was tight around and on the way to the courthouse. Lawyers, journalists, relatives of the suspects and foreign observers were frisked before entering the building. A total of 110 suspects -- 104 of whom are currently jailed -- participated in yesterday’s hearing. The total number of people indicted is 152.

The suspects are being accused, in a 7,578-page indictment, of attempting to disturb the unity of the state, membership and leadership in a terrorist organization and aiding and abetting a terrorist organization, for which they face jail sentences ranging from 15 years to life without the possibility of parole.

The suspects include 28 administrators of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) and also Sabri Ok, the individual in charge of European operations of the outlawed PKK. There are 12 DTP mayors, two city council speakers and two city council members among the suspects. In yesterday’s hearing, the prosecutors read out a summary of the indictment. The prosecution claims that the KCK works under the PKK and organizes attacks during various activities such as the Kurdish festival “Nevruz.” Ok, who resides in Europe, gives his orders via e-mail or phone, the prosecution claimed. The prosecution also argues that the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) was founded under orders from Ok.

Rights group files complaint

Meanwhile, the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUMDER) yesterday filed a criminal complaint against the panel of judges at the Diyarbakir 6th High Criminal Court for rejecting the defendants’ demand to deliver their defense testimonies in their mother tongue.

MAZLUMDER President Ahmet Faruk Ünsal made a brief statement in front of the Justice Ministry building yesterday before officially filing the complaint, saying that the international covenants Turkey as a party to obligated the judges to allow the defendants to deliver their testimonies in their native language.

He said the Lausanne Treaty of 1923 guaranteed the right to deliver court testimonies in one’s native language. “The panel of judges has violated the constitution. We call on those prosecutors who are sensitive to the law and universal values to get to work.”