Thursday, October 21, 2010

KCK Defendants Request Defense in Kurdish

DHA Photo from Hurriyet Daily News

The KCK trial against 151 suspect that got underway October 10 continued yesterday with Kurdish defendants asking for the right to defend themselves in Kurdish. The official national language in Turkey is Turkish, and courtroom procedures do not commonly allow defense in other languages. From Hurriyet Daily News:
The court, which has denied the defendants’ request to offer their defense in Kurdish, has also denied a demand the indictment not be read because it would take too long and prolong the period under which the accused would remain detained. The prosecution continued to read the approximately 900 page summary of the 7,578 page indictment.

Including supplement dossiers the indictment is over 130,000 pages long.

Defense lawyers stated police officers running the investigation into their clients were in the room and objected to the court, saying their presence would affect the fairness of the trial.

The Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples, or MAZLUM-DER, announced they would file a criminal complaint against the court on the grounds that it has denied the suspects the right to offer a defense in their mother tongue.
There is obviously a political note the defendants are sounding by requesting they be allowed to defend themselves in Kurdish, but once again, denying the right only stokes tensions further with little gain for the peace process.