SELIM SADAK : Kurdish Mayor Restored in Office

BIANET 26.9.2012 – The Council of State stayed the execution of a verdict to relieve Siirt Mayor Selim Sadak of his duties after he received a prison sentence on terrorism related charges. The Kurdish mayor believes the court’s latest decision was influenced by public pressure.

The Council of State annulled its earlier decision to remove Siirt Mayor Selim Sadak from his post in connection with a prison sentence he had received on terrorism related charges.

“[They] relinquished [their decision] to usurp my rights,” he told bianet, adding that the court’s latest judgement was influenced by the intense reaction emanating from the people of Siirt in the country’s southeast. The Council of State responded to the defendant lawyers’ objections on Monday and consequently ruled to stay the execution of their earlier verdict stipulating Mayor Sadak’s dismissal. “Non-governmental organizations and Siirt locals who may or may not have voted for me sent fax messages to many officials, including the prime minister and president, to request the revocation of the decision to remove [me] from office. They said this amounted to a punishment exacted upon the people of Siirt, adding that the streets were in order and that water kept flowing through the taps. Siirt locals welcomed the decision of the Council of State to stay the execution,” Mayor Sadak said.

Anti-Terror Law strikes back

The Fifth High Criminal Court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır had sentenced Mayor Sadak to 10 months in prison in accordance with article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) due to a speech he had delivered during the funeral of a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK.)

The Ninth Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals then ratified that decision, and the Eighth Chamber of the Council of State consequently decided to relieve Mayor Sadak of his duties through a majority vote in response to an appeal by the Interior Ministry. A prosecutor, a reporter judge and another member had objected to that decision in the Council of State, but to no avail, Mayor Sadak explained. “They objected to my being discharged from office, indicating that speech constituted an expression of thought and not a crime of terrorism, but the majority voted to remove me from office,” he said.Mayor Sadak’s prison sentence was also suspended in consequence of the ratification of the Third Judicial Reform Package on Aug. 10.

Not the first encounter with the heavy hand of law

The Diyarbakır Fourth High Criminal Court also sentenced Mayor Sadak to 10 months of imprisonment in a separate file, also in connection with article 7/2 of the TMK. Defendant lawyer Şakir Demir explained that the suit was filed in relation to a photograph that had appeared in a calender published by the municipality for the year 2010. “The calender features a photograph taken during the Newroz festivities in 2009. My client was sentenced to prison terms due to this photograph,” he said.

Mayor’s Sadak’s file is now pending in the Ninth Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Sadak had received yet another prison sentence that was later overturned by the Ninth Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals. That sentence had also come about in relation to an interview he had given to RojTV where he had referred to PKK militants as “guerilla” and to the PKK’s founder Abdullah Öcalan as “sir.” Mayor Sadak was also released on bail in the amount of 3,000 Turkish Liras, after he had received a six month long prison sentence on Aug. 2011 for speaking in Kurdish during the inauguration ceremony of a building of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in Siirt on July 2010.