Prosecutor demands up to 7.5 years in jail for Diyarbakır Bar Association head
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
DHA photoA Turkish prosecutor has demanded up to seven years and six months in jail for Diyarbakır Bar Association head Tahir Elçi on the grounds of “making propaganda of a terror organization,” after remarks he made regarding the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The Istanbul Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office prepared the indictment after Elçi said “the PKK is not a terror organization” during a live TV show on private broadcaster CNNTürk on Oct. 14. It demanded that he be jailed for from one year and six months to seven years and six months.
Elçi was first detained by police in Diyarbakır late on Oct. 19 and was released on probation on Oct. 20, but he was barred from traveling out of Turkey.
The indictment was sent to the Bakırköy 2nd Court of Serious Crimes, along with a statement about why the PKK should be defined as a terror organization.
Stating that the PKK should be defined as a terror organization because its actions contained elements of violence, the indictment said there was always a legal and legitimate way to obtain rights and resorting to violence was never legitimate.
Elçi’s background in law was also mentioned in the indictment, which stated that “as a lawyer he should have known what an offense is and what it not … He should have calculated the social effect of his words due to the social position he holds.”
The Bakırköy 2nd Court of Serious Crimes is expected to decide within 15 days whether or not to accept or reject the indictment.
Meanwhile, Elçi’s lawyer Baran Doğan has objected to the ban on his client traveling abroad. Elçi had been invited to deliver a speech at a conference in Brussels on Nov. 3 on freedom of expression and media freedom in Turkey and the western Balkans.
“I stand behind my words and believe that they are true. The words I said cannot constitute a crime,” Elçi said after being released on probation on Oct. 20.