First Kurdish defense at Turkish court

The board of a Diyarbakır court on Thursday unanimously approved a request by a suspect to deliver his defense in Kurdish for the first time in the trial of the Kurdistan Communities' Union.

First Kurdish defense at Turkish court

World Bulletin / News Desk

The board of a Diyarbakır court on Thursday unanimously approved a request by a suspect to deliver his defense in Kurdish for the first time in the trial of the Kurdistan Communities' Union (KCK), hours after President Abdullah Gül approved a law which sanctions the use of languages other than Turkish in court.

The hearing in the trial into the KCK, an umbrella organization encompassing the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and related organizations, began early on Thursday in the Diyarbakır 6th High Criminal Court. KCK defendant Ali Şimşek, who speaks Turkish, stated he would prefer to deliver his defense in Kurdish. The court's board unanimously approved the suspect's request, allowing an interpreter in the courtroom.

The law was passed in Parliament on Jan. 25 and makes changes to the Code on Criminal Procedure (CMK) and the Law on the Execution of Punitive and Security Measures. With the changes, suspects will be able to use the language in which they feel they can express themselves best when submitting their defense. The state will cover the expenses for courtroom translators. Translators for the defendants will be chosen from lists prepared by provincial judicial committees.

Şimşek said he preferred to speak in his mother tongue although he speaks Turkish as well and thanked authorities who gave suspects the right to defend themselves in Kurdish. Saying that he finds the new law very positive, Şimşek added that after many years of not being able to, they will be able to defend themselves in their mother tongue.

The right to make one's defense in a language other than Turkish has been a hot topic in Turkey. The issue came to the foreground once more last year in July when the first hearing in the KCK trial was halted when several defendants responded in Kurdish during an ID check in court.

The KCK investigation started in December 2009 and a number of Kurdish politicians, including several mayors of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), have been detained as part of the case since then.

The suspects have been accused of various crimes, including membership in a terrorist organization, aiding and abetting a terrorist organization and attempting to destroy the country's unity and integrity.

Last Mod: 31 Ocak 2013, 17:45
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