Small courthouse poses big problem for 151-Kurdish suspect trial

The small size of the Diyarbakır Courthouse is posing a big problem ahead of the Oct. 18 hearing of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) trial, in which a total of 151 suspects will be tried.

 

The suspects were detained in operations carried out in the provinces of Diyarbakır, Siirt, Şanlıurfa, Mardin, Şırnak, Batman, İstanbul and İzmir as part of an investigation launched by the Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor’s Office against the terrorist organization the KCK — known alternatively as the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) urban arm, civilian branch or secret civilian establishment. They are standing trial at the Diyarbakır 6th High Criminal Court for being members of a terrorist organization.

 

However, the Diyarbakır courthouse, with its small courtrooms, is a long way off meeting the logistical requirements of such a large trial. Two courtrooms are currently being merged for the KCK hearing. Even though the renovation should be completed by Oct. 18, the courtroom may still be too small, as many people are expected to attend the hearing. On the date of the hearing, 151 suspects, around 100 lawyers, relatives of the suspects, members of the press, staff and many pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) members will be present in the courtroom. All of the BDP’s deputies will be in attendance.

 

The suspects are expected to stand trial in rotation. Because of this, the trial may run for several days. The Diyarbakır 6th High Criminal Court will not hear any other cases until Nov. 12.

 

The 7,578-page indictment was accepted by the court on June 18. A total of 151 suspects, 104 of whom prosecutors are demanding sentences varying from 15 years’ to life imprisonment.

 

The suspects include the PKK’s European representative, Sabri Ok, who is named as the primary suspect in the indictment, 28 managers of the now-defunct Democratic Society Party (DTP), 12 mayors, including Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir, two provincial council heads and two municipal council members.

 

14.10.2010

AZİZ İSTEGÜN

Todays Zaman

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