03 December 2012 – ANF – Defendants denied witness speaking in Kurdish because no translator available.
Despite the Turkish government’s claim that “there is no obstacle for defines in mother tongue for people who do not speak Turkish in Turkish courts” an attention grabbing event happened in Mersin. A total of 180 years prison sentence has been asked for six children who have been denied to call a witness. The witness was to give his testimony in Kurdish but the court said there was no translator and so the witness was not able to appear.
Defense lawyer Eyüp Sabri Öncel said the decision by the Court was biased “because the witness was going to give evidence in Kurdish and in favour of the defendants”.
The minors were detained on the ground of attending the Newroz celebration on 20 march 2012 in Mersin. After their detention they were released pending trial. The trial begun and the kids were charged with “being a member of an illegal organisation”, “contravening the law on marches and rallies”, “damaging property “, “making propaganda “. The prosecutor asked 30 years prison sentence for each of the kids, a total of 180 years. The first hearing was held on 16 November 2012.The children rejected the accusations made against them and said that “it is not a crime attending the Newroz festival”. Their lawyers demanded their clients’ acquittal. One child had said that when he was detained “a police hold a gun to my head and threatened to kill me”.