Friday, April 18, 2008

Baydemir Fined

I first mentioned this case against Osman Baydemir in February (see Feb. 18 post). The mayor was convicted and fined YTL 1,500. From Today's Zaman:

Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir was fined yesterday for voicing his support for a group of protesters during riots that broke out during funerals for several Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists in March 2006.

The rioting lasted for weeks and left more than 10 people dead. In his defense, Baydemir referred to the PKK terrorists as “militants,” saying: “The pain felt by the mother of a Turkish soldier when her son dies is the same pain felt by the mother of a militant when her son dies. I feel the same when either a Turkish soldier or a militant is killed in my province.” The court ruled that Baydemir’s remarks were not within the scope of freedom of speech and sentenced him to 50 days in jail for praising criminals, in accordance with Article 215 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

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