Diyarbakir Court Rejects Testimony in Kurdish

3.1.2013 – BIANET – The 6th Diyarbakir High Criminal Court found 40 defendants guilty for being a KCK organization member, ordering prison sentences from six years and three months to seventeen years.

In 2009, police raided several apartments in Şırnak province, detaining dozens of individuals suspected of being a member of KCK, an organization recognized as the urban branch of PKK. On the 24th session of Şırnak KCK trial, the judge ruled to prosecute 12 suspects–including Şırnak province deputy Faysal Sarıyıldız–under a separate trial. Defendant attorneys requested that suspects testified in Kurdish, a proposition rejected by the court. The judge ruled that legislation regulating testimonies in other languages than Turkish has not yet implemented. The judge also rejected defense attorneys’ request for additional time until the the suspects could testify in Kurdish.

A witness whose name was not disclosed for security reasons said that he testified under physical and psychological police pressure. “I signed this testimony under pressure. These are not my words,” he told the judge. The judge made a clarifying speech before announcing the verdict. “The reason why suspects who received longer sentences for throwing stones at police forces is because they are also charged with giving the order.” The judge also remarked that the rejection for testifying in Kurdish was definitely “lawful”. The court dismissed charges for three suspects–Mehmet Emin Ülger, Ayhan Deniz, Yusuf Kulu–for various reasons and also released Rıdvan İnal. (HÇ/HK)