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 KCK trial: Defence Lawyers Disapprove of Turkish Police Presence

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KCK trial: Defence Lawyers Disapprove of Turkish Police Presence  21.10.2010   

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October 21, 2010

DIYARBAKIR, Kurdish Southeastern region of Turkey, — Tensions arouse in the third hearing of the KCK trial in Diyarbakir. The defence lawyers criticized the presence of plain-clothes police officers in the courtroom and the installation of a police cordon between the defendants and their lawyers.

On the third day of the "KCK trial", the defence lawyers demanded to remove plainclothes policemen alleged to belong to the Anti-Terror Branch from the courtroom.

The trial related to the Democratic Confederation of Kurdistan (KCK) known as                           

ANF photo.
the umbrella organization that includes the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is heard before the Diyarbakir 6th High Criminal Court. A total of 152 defendants face trial, 104 of them are detained.

Joint attorney for the defence, Ercan Kanar, stated that the trial could not be held in a democratic manner as long as policemen were positioned in the court room. "They may create pressure on the court and they may also influence the defendants. They are involved in the case anyways", he said and requested to withdraw these police officers from the courtroom.

According to the ANF news agency, irrelevant details were included when the indictment was read out. Lawyer Kanar demanded to omit those irrelevant parts that would offend the defendants,
www.ekurd.netspecifically transcripts of phone calls of the defendants, ANF reported.

The 7,578-page indictment prepared by the Diyarbakir Public Prosecution asks for sentences between 15 years imprisonment and life sentences under charges of "disrupting the unity of the state and the integrity of the country", "membership and leadership of a terrorist organization" and "aiding and abetting a terrorist organization".

The reading of the summarized indictment stretched into the afternoon session of the third hearing on Wednesday (20 October). A discussion between the court president and the defence lawyers occurred over a supposed "hindering of contact between the defence lawyers and the defendants by the security forces".

ANF reported that the lawyers criticized the security cordon set up between the attorneys and their clients with the alleged purpose of obstructing mutual contact. They claimed that this was contrary to the law and requested to remove the security forces from the court room. The court dismissed the demand.

Lawyers Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Metin Yeliz and Meral Danış Beştaş objected the rejection. The court president replied, "We do not accept this request. It creates a weakness in security".

Lawyer Bektaş responded, "Are we going to attack the defendants or are they going to attack us? Is it this kind of security weakness? I want this to be included in the minutes". The court president answered with a brief "OK", turned to the prosecution and ordered to have the indictment read without putting down anything to the record. The indictment was summarized in 990 pages, however it could not be finished reading in yesterday's session.

Rejection of Kurdish Defence Provokes Legal Action

The Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUMDER) filed a criminal complaint against the court board of the KCK case in Diyarbakır on the grounds of the board's refusal to permit the defence speeches to be delivered in Kurdish. The case, which has received considerable international attention, is tried before the 6th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır in south-eastern Turkey.

The written announcement issued by Ahmet Faruk Ünsal, President of MAZLUMDER, referred to the ratification of international treaties as stipulated in the constitution. It read, "According to Article 90 of the Constitution which is still in effect, international treaties related to fundamental rights and freedoms prevail over the constitution".

"Article 39/5 of the Treaty of Lausanne as an international agreement to establish the Turkish Republic commits Turkish nationals to the possibility to use their own language before the courts. Accordingly, the court board committed the offence of violating the constitution", Ünsal explained.

He submitted the petition to the Ministry of Justice on behalf of the association. He requested an administrative and criminal investigation into the court board of the Diyarbakir 6th High Criminal Court.

Court dismissed the request for permission to present the defence speeches in Kurdish as the defendants' mother tongue. The defence lawyers announced to insist on this subject.


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