Turkish courts out of sync on terror charges
İsmail Saymaz ISTANBUL / Radikal
Metin Cömert was convicted to seven years in jail for joining a demonstration in Tunceli. Radikal photoJudicial authorities in Istanbul and the eastern province of Malatya have issued two diametrically opposed verdicts for two groups of youngsters involved in left-wing demonstrations, handing stiff sentences to one group while exonerating the other.
A specially authorized Istanbul prosecutor ruled to drop all charges against 21 suspects, nine of them arrested pending trial, for their involvement in May Day demonstrations on May 1, 2011, and the commemoration of prominent deceased Turkish leftists İbrahim Kaypakkaya, Mahir Çayan and Deniz Gezmiş. The prosecutor ruled to release the nine arrested suspects on Feb. 3, 2012.
The suspects, who were members of left-wing parties such as the Party of Labor (EMEP) and the Socialist Democracy Party (SDP), were facing charges of making propaganda for and holding membership in a terrorist organization. They were implicated following a raid ordered by the prosecutor’s office in the northwestern province of Kocaeli into the offices of certain left-wing organizations and parties; nine people were consequently arrested in November 2011.
But another 14 youngsters in the eastern province of Tunceli who participated in May Day demonstrations last year and shouted slogans in favor of Kaypakkaya on May 18, 2011, the 38th anniversary of his death from torture, were handed prison sentences totaling over 110 years by a court in Malatya on March 22 and 23, 2012.
Murat Kur, a mayoral candidate in Tunceli, and four other suspects received a total of 56 years and two months in prison on the charge of “membership in a terrorist organization,” while Cömert Metin received seven years and three months in prison on charges of making propaganda for and committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization.
Six other members of the Democratic Rights Platform were also sentenced to seven years and three months in prison for making propaganda for and holding membership in a terrorist organization.