Amendment for defense in Kurdish sent to Parliament

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News – 13.11.2012 – Turkey’s government sent a legal arrangement paving the way for the use of suspects’ mother tongue in courts – one of the three key demands of hundreds of hunger strikers – to Parliament late yesterday. The arrangement is part of a 13-article amendment proposal to the Criminal Procedure Code (CMK) and to the Law on Execution of Penalties and Security Precautions.

In the reasoning of the proposal, it says that “the defendant is given the opportunity to make his verbal defense in a language in which he states that he will better express himself,” Anatolia news agency reported.Over 700 mostly Kurdish hunger strikers are demanding an end to the isolation of imprisoned militant leader Abdullah Öcalan, as well as an end to restrictions against Kurdish in the courts and the education system. Today is the 63rd day of the strike.The same proposal also outlines a chance for married prisoners to conduct conjugal visits with their spouses without the presence of prison staff from three hours to 24 hours and once in three months. If the proposal is approved, the implementation of sentences of prisoners who cannot survive alone in prisons due to a serious illness or handicap may also be postponed.