A delegation of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) is monitoring the KCK trial in Diyarbakır. A total of 152 defendants, among them numerous members of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and human rights defenders, are tried in the south-eastern city of Diyarbakır on the grounds of an alleged affiliation to the Democratic Confederation of Kurdistan (KCK), the umbrella organisation that includes the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The FIDH delegation advocated for the release of the 104 detained defendants pending trial in respect to the principle of the "presumption of innocence".
FIDH President Sourhayr Belhassen said in a meeting at the Human Rights Association (İHD) Istanbul Branch on Friday (22 October), "There are defendants of the case who have been detained for 18 months and the lawyers are not able to obtain a copy of the case files. The detentions are opposing the presumption of innocence. The indictment is utterly unbalanced". The meeting was also attended by Alexandre Pomeon O'Neill, Head of the FIDH Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.
Belhassen: "The Minister of Justice did not keep his promise"
Belhassen stressed that the defendants should be released pending trial and that the prosecutors should present evidence for the accusations they put forward. "If Turkey does not give importance to these issues, it will be impossible to provide peace", he said.
Belhassen furthermore commented on the İHD data related to prisons, "The capacity of Turkish prisons is limited to 65,000 people. Currently, 122,000 people are being imprisoned. This creates problems regarding health, accommodation and nutrition. 90 inmates are hospitalized because of serious health problems such as cancer. 13 of them are fatally ill with last-stage cancer, as far as we know", Belhassen explained.
The FIDH President said that in a meeting with the Turkish Minister of Justice, Sadullah Ergin, he remarked that seriously ill detainees should be released from prison. "He promised me that I would have the chance to visit the sick, but he did not keep that promise".
He also demanded to release the detained defendants of the KCK trial and received the following reply from the minister, "It is our duty to protect the Turkish citizens against terrorist activities. Two innocent prayer leaders were killed in bomb attacks". Belhassen added that torture cases have increased in Turkey since 2005.
Lawyer Pradel: EU should not be impassive on KCK trial
Related to the KCK trial, FIDH lawyer Martin Pradel condemned the impassiveness of the European Union (EU).
"The detainees do not know under which charges they are detained and so they have no reasons to object the allegations against them".
bianet asked Pradel on his opinion on children being made victims of the Anti-Terrorism Law (TMK). He replied, "It is appalling to accuse children of terrorism. We can see how absurd the layout of the judicial procedures is. This situation is unacceptable". (BT/VK)