Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Baydemir Acquitted in Brochure Trial

A victory for common sense . . .

From BIA-Net:
The 2nd Court of First Instance of Diyarbakır acquitted Osman Baydemir, Diyarbakır mayor, and Yurdusev Özsökmenler, Bağlar mayor, who were on trial for printing a brochure both in Kurdish and Zaza languages. The prosecutor was asking for up to two years in prison.

The court did not construe as criminal the brochures that were printed in Turkish, Kurdish and Zaza languages to inform the citizens about the cleaning campaigns of June 2007.

The brochure that said “leave your garbage by the door in the evening” was put on trial
Following the investigation permission by Abdülkadir Aksu, the Minister of Interior, the State Council had started the trial process in spite of the objections by the two mayors.

Baydemir, Özsökmenler and four more municipality workers were taken to the court for the crimes of being in opposition to the Law on the Acceptance and Application of Turkish Letters and the misconduct in office. The trial resulted in acquittal on June 27.

Muharrem Erbey, Baydemir’s lawyer, reminded that the brochure simply told those who did not know Turkish to how to prepare their garbage for the municipality workers. Reaching the decisions that there was nothing criminal in the brochures, the court acquitted the accusers.
For more on the state's treatment of the Kurdish language, see Feb. 18 post and March 10 post.

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