Mr. Hocman Joma, 27 years old, a Syrian Kurd who threw a shoe to Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayip Erdogan while was leaving from the city hall in the southern city of Seville, Spain on 22nd February 2010. When he threw his shoe, Joma was chanting ‘Free Kurdistan!
A Spanish court sentenced Mr. Joma for three years imprisonment. He has been in custody since the incident, was found guilty of "an attack against the international community" and also ordered to pay a fine of 408 Euros.
Joma said during the trial that he never intended to hurt the prime minister but only to "draw attention" to the situation of the minority Kurds in Turkey.
Kurds are the largest ethnic group without a state of their own, perceived as posing a separatist threat and without any formal representation on the world stage. They have been subjected to genocide, crimes against humanity and a host of other human rights abuses. Ethnic cleansing programms have been implemented, accompanied by mass killings, displacement and prohibitions on Kurdish culture and language. Over the last thirty years, the Kurdish regions have been the scenes of genocide, crimes against humanity, extra-judicial killings, torture, mass displacement and censorship, among other abuses of international law.
Kurdish problem emerged from the aftermath of the First World War. Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the regional powers signed a peace treaty – the Treaty of Sèvres envisaging, among other provisions, the future establishment of an independent Kurdish state. However, following the Turkish war of independence under Mustafa ‘Kemal’ Atatürk and his followers, the Treaty of Lausanne was enacted instead. That treaty sidelined the Kurdish question altogether and finalised the division of the Kurdish regions between modern-day Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. Kurdish culture stems back to the migration of indo-European tribes some 4,000 years ago to the Zagros Mountains, now the heart of the Kurdish region. Although no formal censuses exist, there are estimated to be between 25 and 30 million Kurds originating from the mountainous region bordering modern Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. Despite their cross-border spread and the large number of different languages and religions, Kurds share a strong overarching sense of identity.
Today, millions of Kurds live as internally displaced persons within state borders physically prevented from returning to their former land and livelihoods following armed conflict. Millions more live as migrants, refugees and asylum seekers across the world.
It is an irony that Mr Joma are sentenced to such harsh sentence while in December 2008 an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at US president George W. Bush during his final visit to Iraq chanting: "This is the farewell kiss you are dog." The 30-year-old was subsequently jailed for nine months.
We understand that Turkey must realize that his attempt of erasing the political natural realities, as the existence of the Kurdish People, by means of indiscriminate prohibitions, removes it from the standard democratic minimums defined in the criteria of Copenhagen, for his incorporation to the European Union.
We, Kurds and human rights supporters call attention of Spanish Justice Ministry to consider Mr. Hojman Joma’s case.
Please email your support to: firstname.lastname@example.org
International campaign for Hocman Joma27/07/2010