PEACE IN KURDISTAN CAMPAIGN
Press Release 23rd February 2010
Lawyers, İrfan Dündar (right) and Fırat Aydınkaya, who act on behalf of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, have been sentenced in Istanbul for “spreading propaganda for a terror organisation”.
The Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court gave both lawyers prison sentences of ten months each (which was suspended for five years because of “good conduct and no previous criminal record”. At the same time the same court acquitted former Democratic Society Party (DTP) MP Aysel Tuğluk of similar charges.
Ocalan's lawyers were sentenced because of the appearance of a newspaper article entitled "A chance for Öcalan" published in Özgür Gündem on 29 and 30 April 2009. The court stated that the article included phrases made by Dündar and Aydınkakya such as "The lawyers conveyed Öcalan's opinion on the developments within KONGRA-GEL (PKK)", "He is experiencing the pain of change" and "Öcalan's opinions are important for an enduring peace".
Peace in Kurdistan firmly believes that the sentence reflects the intolerable conditions under which lawyers acting for the Kurdish leader have been subject since his apprehension in 1999 and the subsequent trial.
Unfortunately, it is nothing new for not only have they been subjected to various forms of harassment and intimidation while performing their normal professional duties and seeking to represent their client, they have been treated as terror suspects themselves.
The fact is that Turkish law as presently constituted permits such charges to be routinely brought against lawyers simply for putting across the case of their client. Peace in Kurdistan is sure that you will agree that this is situation lawyers should find utterly unacceptable.
Estella 020 7586 5892
Rachel 020 7272 4131
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish question
Patrons: Lord Avebury, John Austin MP, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP,Jean Lambert MEP, Alyn Smith MEP, Bairbre De Brun MEP, Hywel Williams MP, Elfyn Llwyd MP, Julie Christie, Gareth Peirce, Noam Chomsky, Edward Albee, Mark Thomas
44 Ainger Road, London NW3 3AT Tel 020 7586 5892 Fax 020 7483 2531