By Mithat Ishakoglu for Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

On 2 August 2011, the 24th hearing of the trial in the KCK case took place. Unlike the first trial in October 2010, which I also witnessed, Kurdish people avoided coming to the court building to demonstrate. This was probably in line with general attitude of the Kurdish side in boycotting all state institutions as part of their civil disobedience. Many times they said that this trial is a politically motivated trial against the electoral victory of Kurds, therefore our reaction to the trial will also be political. On the other side, the state was out in force with its security forces, police and panzers. There was a similar situation inside the court. The lawyers for the prisoners did not attend the trial in protest at the court board’s anti-democratic stand against the prisoners’ demand to defend themselves in their mother tongue of Kurdish. Of the 152 people who are accused (104 of them are detained), only six people were taken to court for this session of the trial due to the court’s decision of taking prisoners in smaller groups. They included Adnan Bayram, Zeynel Mert, Abdurrahim Tanrioglu, and Nizamettin Kurt. The mayor of Sur Municipality, Abdullah Demirbas (who was released due to his serious illness) was also present at the court.

The lawyers of the prisoners boycotted the hearing after discussions with their clients. Some of the court board’s announcement following the sittings on 2nd and 3rd August were as below:

1-  The court board rejected lawyer Sertaç Eke’s demand for the removal of Sur Municipality’s Mayor Abdullah Demirbas’ request to be able to travel abroad to receive medical treatment which can only be treated in the USA as his doctors advised.

2- The court board decided to re-issue a warrant concerning the appointing of lawyers with CMK (Code of Criminal Procedure) Assignment System (OCAS) and to file a criminal complaint against the lawyers if they don’t attend the trials.

3- The demand for the re-transfer of detainees to Diyarbakir D-Type Prison was rejected by the court board.

4- Deciding for the re-issue of a warrant concerning the appointment of lawyers from Diyarbakir Bar Association, which was asked for obligatory advocates, the court decided to file a criminal complaint in case of objection to the lawyers.

The so-called ‘KCK trial’ against 152 people including human rights defenders, Kurdish politicians, ex and current mayors was once again postponed to August 10th when the court demanded the presence of all accused.

The court decided to refuse the demand of lawyers for bail and decided for the continuation of the defendants’ imprisonment and filed a criminal complaint against the lawyers who were appointed by the CMK (Code of Criminal Procedure) and didn’t attend the hearing.

After the ending of court session on 2 August, Selahattin Demirtas, the leader of BDP MPs group spoke to the press. He stated that the same mentality of 1925 (when the leader of the first Kurdish revolt, in the Republic of Turkey’s history, Sheikh Said and his other 47 comrades were sentenced to death penalty) can still be seen in today’s Turkish justice system towards the Kurds.  He added by saying that it is better for the Turkish State to turn the whole of Kurdistan into a mass prison for all Kurdish people rather than put just some thousands of their political representatives in Turkish prisons (he was stressing that the Kurds will not give up their struggle against the state’s oppressive policies). The government and the state must seriously change its behaviour and strategy towards a real democratic solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey. In a brief interview with Meral Bestas Danis, a lawyer in the KCK case, said that there was no point being in the courtroom, since the basic right of defending themselves in their mother tongue had been banned for the people on trial.