16 released out of 140 in alleged terror case
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
The arrest of academic Büşra Ersanlı and university student Büşra Beste Önder has raised protests. ‘Freedom to thought, university and to Büşras,’ this banner reads. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL
Professor Büşra Ersanlı and 15 other suspects in the ongoing Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case were released on July 13.
Ersanlı, who was accused of being one of the leaders of the of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) alleged urban wing the KCK, was jailed in November 2011.
“From the day that the prosecutor ruled my detention, until now, everything has been upside down. I am speechless and now going back to Silivri to pack my bag,” Büşra Ersanlı told the Hürriyet Daily News in the courtroom, from where she was to be sent back to Silivri Prison to be released the same night.
The trials will continue on Oct. 1, with some 124 suspects still under arrest in the case.
BDP deputy Pervin Buldan and CHP deputy Binnaz Toprak were among those who attended the trial as observers.
“This is an important step, but the real question is why they were jailed in the first place, and why the others are still in prison,” Buldan told the Daily News.
Freed suspect in the case Ragıp Zarakolu, a prominent human rights defender, was also in the courtroom and expressed his support for the other defendants including his son Deniz Zarakolu.
Outside the courtroom, nearly 150 people at first celebrated the releases. However, when some of the relatives found out that their loved ones were not among those freed, they began to protest, which lead to the gendarmerie evicting them from the court area. Two women fainted and an ambulance immediately took them for first aid.
Meanwhile, Ragıp Zarakolu has filed a criminal complaint against the court board of the case for “failing to protect suspect relatives and international observers.”
On the first day of the case, July 2, computers, passports and documents of a number of officials from the International Publishers Association (IPA), International PEN and the International Publishers Union, were stolen from the car of their translator by an unknown person or people.
Freedom to Publish Committee heads Björn Smith Simonsen and Eugene Schoulgin, Jailed Writers Committee head of PEN Sara Wyatt, and coordinator Alexis Krikoria, have all registered complaints.
“The court board failed to protect them, they should have found a way to secure them,” Zarakolu told the Daily News. The incident took place in front of gendarmerie, police and security cameras in the daytime, which indicated “negligence or worse,” Zarakolu added.
“Despite 10 days having passed since the incident, security forces have not made any statements on this issue. This makes us think that they see themselves as free to act however they want,” Zarakolu’s criminal complaint read.
The next hearing will be held on Oct. 1, 2012.