The Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court convicted Sociologist İsmail Beşikçi and lawyer Zeycan Balcı Şimşek of "making propaganda for the PKK organization", the outlawed armed Kurdistan Workers' Party. The charges stem from an article published in the "Contemporary Law and Society" magazine, the periodical of the Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD) Istanbul Branch.
Sociologist Beşikçi was handed down prison terms of one year and three months, Şimşek received a TL 16,660 (€ 8,330) monetary fine on the grounds of the article entitled "The right of nations to self determination and the Kurds". The final hearing was held on Friday (4 March).
President Judge Akçay opposed the decision
The decision was not taken unanimously but by majority vote. President Judge Şeref Akçay opposed the vote noting that in his opinion the defendants should have been acquitted.
The ÇHD condemned the decision. "The ostensible character of the democratic packages that were opened to tackle the Kurdish question is being revealed once more with this decision. We are all forced to accept the fact that it is a crime in this country to think, to express ideas and to state the existence of Kurds", the ÇHD said in a written announcement. (EÖ/VK)
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