The 41st hearing of the so-called "KCK Trial" regarding the Union of Kurdish Communities (KCK) in Diyarbakır was held on 27 January. 152 defendants are involved in the trial, 104 of whom were detained till the Friday session. The hearing before the Diyarbakır 6th High Criminal Court was attended by 79 detained defendants.
The court board decided to release detained defendants Seyithan Şen, Veysi Akar, İhsan Seviktek, Abdurrahim Tanrıverdi and Adnan Bayram pending trial. Hence, a total of 99 defendants remain in detention.
The court president announced the decision and the minutes related to the search of the home and office of defendant Muharrem Erbey, Deputy President of the İHD and the Head of the İHD Diyarbakır Branch, and to the collection of evidence.
Aktar: "Double standards in proceedings"
The defence lawyers pointed to the interception of Erbey's phone, voice records and documents confiscated in the course of these searches that were allegedly criminal. The attorneys claimed a clash with the procedures and requested to remove these documents from the case file. The court board rejected this demand unanimously.
Lawyer Mehmet Emin Aktar, Head of the Diyarbakır Bar Association, said at the hearing, "We have no doubts about double standards in these proceedings. The Human Rights Association (İHD) was searched without a court decision".
Court President Menderes Yılmaz ascertained that the search of Erbey's home and office was carried out upon a court decision before he was arrested. When Erbey was asked to give his view on the allegations pressed against him he started to speak in Kurdish and his microphone was switched off.
Defence lawyer Reyhan Baydemir criticized that all of their requests made to court had been dismissed so far.
Baydemir stated, "The court dismisses all of our requests. If you try the activities of the İHD, you cannot only ask our client Muharrem Erbey. In that case, you also have to try the association's former executives and chairmen. We were all involved in the activities of the association, so you should prosecute me as well. This is an injustice done without conscience. Archived documents from 25 years ago were seized in the raid on the İHD. These documents contain crimes committed in this region throughout the past 30 years. You also have to prosecute the police and gendarmerie officers who committed these crimes. You have to get a courtroom suitable for a thousand people because you have to sue those people too".
Court President Yılmaz read a list of banned books found at the home of defendant Erbey, among them also books written by Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned leader of the separatist outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as the armed wing of the KCK.
After an intermission around noon time, information and documents confiscated with regard to Erbey were read out.
Court President Yılmaz also read the publication investigation document related to publications and books prohibited by the Diyarbakır Governorship and the Police Directorate.
Microphone switched off again and again
Defendant Erbey started his defence in Kurdish once more and claimed that he had no knowledge about the prohibition of the books. Again, his microphone was being muted. Defence lawyer Feride Laçin insisted on a translation of Erbey's words into Turkish and to have his statement included in the minutes.
Court President Yılmaz asked Erbey about a list read out with 93 names from the Permanent Assembly of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK). Erbey replied in Kurdish that he did not know who prepared that list. Again, his microphone was switched off.
Defence lawyer Baydemir stated that the list was prepared by the Diyarakır Bar Association and comprised all lawyers in order to follow the general election in 2007. He said that they observed these lawyers to monitor whether they were carrying out proper campaigns.
Judge Yılmaz said that regarding the seized information, "it was understood that detained defendant Muharrem Erbey carried out activities on behalf of the PKK terrorist organization by having launched a campaign called 'Esteemed Mr. Öcalan'".
Erbey responded in Kurdish that they had to have "lost their minds". Thereupon, his microphone was muted again.
Defence lawyer Laçin put forward that the related document was a brochure prepared by the İHD on the topic 'Do you know your rights'. Laçin criticized the comment about Erbey as uneducated and unrealistic.
The court board claimed that Erbey used the words "a declared ceasefire between the parties" in one of his statements. According to the court, it was understood that it was tried to present the PKK like a state.
Defence lawyer Baydemir declined this evidence as unacceptable.
After that, the court president read out another document containing the names of people who were going to be invited to the DTK. This document had been confiscated in the course of a raid on the home of detained defendant Hatip Dicle.
On the grounds of this document, the court said it was understood that the PKK terrorist organization was appointed to establish commissions as defined in the four-pillar paradigm by Abdullah Öcalan.
Just before his microphone was muted once more, defendant Erbey said again in Kurdish that not the complete announcement was made by him.
Thereupon, a short quarrel occurred between the Turkish speaking judge and the Kurdish speaking defendant.
Defence lawyer Laçin recalled that the DTK "invited people to a workshop in order to find a solution for the Kurdish question". She underlined that the people invited included Justice and Development Party (AKP) Diyarbakır MP Galip Ensarioğlu, Republican Peoples' Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Diyarbakır Metropolitan Mayor Osman Baydemir and dozens of other people. Laçin continued, "Yet, Muharrem Erbey is the only one of them being prosecuted and that raises doubts (...).
Subsequently, the court board questioned Erbey about a word document extracted from a hard disc.
He replied in Kurdish that the İHD had an archive comprising 25 years that was stored in twelve rooms. Thereupon, the defendant's microphone was switched off one more time.
Defence lawyer Hayrettin Güzel pointed out that the read document did not fall into the time in office of his client but was taken from the 25-year archive of the İHD.
Defence lawyer Baydemir requested the release of his clients.
Prosecutor proposed four releases
Referring to the nature and quality of the alleged offences, the collected evidence and the period of detention, Prosecutor Levent Kaya requested the release of four people, namely Seyithan Şen, Veysi Akar, İhsan Sevitek and Abdurrahim Tanrıverdi.
After a brief intermission, the court board announced to release the five defendants Seyithan Şen, Veysi Akar, İhsan Seviktek, Abdurrahim Tanrıverdi and Adnan Bayram pending trial. Hence, the number of detained defendants went down to 99. (AG/HK)