Journalists on trial for alleged links to KCK

Journalists on trial for alleged links to KCK

ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
Journalists on trial for alleged links to KCK

Gültan Kışanak, co-chair of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), speaks to reporters in Istanbul before the hearing of a Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) trial. AA photo

Some 44 people, many of them journalists, went on trial in Istanbul’s Çağlayan 14th High Criminal Court yesterday for having alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) amid protests.

At the beginning of the hearing the chief judge ruled to start the case in the afternoon, as the order in the courtroom was not maintained by the lawyers. The suspects and the audience left the courtroom chanting slogans such as: “The free press cannot be silenced.”

In the afternoon the suspects were identified by the court board and when their names were registered all of the suspects replied “Ez li virim” (meaning “I am present” in Kurdish). The chief judge accepted their statements, unlike in all previous KCK trials.

Prosecutors accuse the 44 defendants of crimes including “membership of an armed organization,” which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

At least 12 of the suspects face up to 22 and half years in prison on charges of “forming and running an armed organization”.

Ankara says the KCK, the alleged urban wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), wants to replace Turkish government institutions in Kurdish-majority Southeastern Anatolia with its own political structures.

A number of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies also attended the hearing. The case will continue today.