Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Man Who Named His Daughter "Helin Kürdistan"

From Jenny White at Kamil Pasha:
The Kurdish Opening, again: The sound of one door, slamming.

A father who faced jail time for registering his newborn daughter’s name as “Helin Kürdistan” was acquitted on the charge by a Diyarbakır court (not enough evidence), only to be sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for attending a demonstration.

Prosecutors had charged Şanlıurfa resident Ahmet Atış with “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” by naming his daughter Helin Kürdistan, but due to lack of evidence for the crime, the case was dismissed and the father acquitted. (Click here for my post on previous name games.)

BUT prosecutors managed to find what appears to be his face on a single photo of demonstrators at a demonstration held on April 4 on the occasion of the birthday of Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdish separatist group PKK.

For this, prosecutors charged Atış with “committing a crime in the name of a terrorist organization,” “behaving against the law for the purposes of gathering and demonstration marches” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organization”, for which they requested a sentence of 20 years.

Atış’s lawyer argued that there was no evidence of his client shouting illegal slogans or throwing stones at the police. (click here for the article)

The court sentenced Atış to eight years and four months in prison.
In another post, White documents attempts made by some Kurdish parents to give their children names using Kurdish letters that do not exist in Turkish -- letters that have beforebeen argued and thought illegal to use. Following a case in which a court acquitted Yasin Yetisgen for using the Kurdish letters 'w,' 'q' and 'x,' rejecting a prosecutor's argument that use of the letters is in violation of Article 222 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), it is unclear just what the law says on the letters and in the different contexts in which they are used.

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