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 240 years prison sentence asked for seven Kurdish children in Turkey

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240 years prison sentence asked for seven Kurdish children in Turkey  15.6.2012  

The children are accused of making propaganda for an illegal organization. Photo: ANF. See Related Links
June 15, 2012

MERSIN, — 240 years prison sentence is asked for seven Kurdish children in Mersin who are accused of “membership of an illegal organization” and “making propaganda for an illegal organization” for propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK. Facebook sharings, mobese (mobile electronic system integration) footages, secret witness statements and joining the May Day are the evidences the prosecutor put forward as accusation against the minors, ANF news agency reported.

Hardly a day passes without detention and arrest of Kurdish children in Mersin as the ruling AKP government holds the record of political arrests against children for crimes in connection with terrorism. Including Pozantı victim children who have been released recently from the Sincan Prison in Ankara, many children are subjected to severe punishments on the grounds of committing a crime linked to a terror organization.

The most recent prosecution targeted seven children who were taken into custody in May, accused of “opposing the law on meetings and demonstrations”, “holding explosive substances”, “violation of freedom of labour” and “damaging public property”. Public Prosecutor Ünsal Demirci asked a total of 240 years prison sentence and continuation of detention for seven children who have been tried without any concrete evidences.

The accusation by Public Prosecutor Ünsal Demirci was accepted by Mersin 2nd Court for Juveniles which also refused the release demand for children, ruling the first trial of the case to be held on 8 July.

Human Rights Association (IHD) Central Executive Board member lawyer Eyüp Sabri Öncel reacted against the severe sentence asked for children and underlined that accused children should be tried without arrest in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The PKK has several times proposed peaceful solutions regarding Kurdish problem, Turkey has always refused saying that it will not negotiate with “terrorists”.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara and U.S. The PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list. 

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