Saturday, January 29, 2011

More Chaos at the KCK Trial

DHA Photo

More chaos ensued under the auspices of the KCK trial in Diyarbakir yesterday when defendants, still not granted permission to defend themselves in Kurdish, continued in their efforts to speak Kurdish in the courtroom. No doubt their microphones were silenced by judges, and their remarks recorded as "incomprehensible," as has been the case in past hearings.

Neither side is blinking on the issue: the court stubbornly refuses to allow the 151 defendants on trial to defend themselves in Kurdish despite the fact that there is precedent for such while the defendants and the BDP are using the issue to raise their own profile and ignite protests across the country. From Hurriyet Daily News:
During the afternoon session, the court said the hearing would continue without defendants in the Kurdish Communities Union, or KCK, case because they reportedly destroyed the discipline in the hall during the morning protest.

Ahead of the afternoon session, the defendants had said they would not attend the second hearing unless they were forced to do so by the gendarmerie, in which case they said they would refuse to sit in court, the pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency reported.

Once in court, the defendants’ lawyers said they did not want to make a defense without their clients, leading them to begin walking out. After the action was greeted by applause from the gallery, the court ordered everyone out and postponed the case until Feb. 1.

More than 100 defendants were standing trial once more for the case, which is investigating the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. The defendants include 96 people under arrest well as seven without arrest. A total of 153 people are implicated in the case, including the mayors and local politicians of several southeastern Anatolian provinces. Prominent Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir is on trial but is not under arrest.

After the court rejected the defendants’ request to speak in Kurdish during the morning session, the suspects demanded to leave the hall but were prevented from doing so by gendarmerie officers, Doğan news agency reported. The defendants, together with members of the gallery, consequently gave derisive applause for five minutes, leading the court to adjourn for a recess.

Nejdet Atalay, the mayor of Batman, spoke in Turkish in the court, saying: “This trial will take its place in history as a dishonorable example of democracy. What is being judged here is Kurds, the representatives of Kurds and the Kurdish issue.”
See past posts for more background.

In another court case, a Diyarbakir court has issued a bizarrely inhumane ruling denying compensation to a Kurdish family whose son was run over by a police vehicle. According to the decision of the court, "The sadness of the death of a [younger] person for his mother and father will not be the same as the sadness of the death of someone who came to a [greater] social status and age.” See Jenny White's comments at Kamil Pasha for more detail.

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