A prosecutor overseeing the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) case asked a Diyarbakır court on Wednesday to transfer the trial to another province because the case cannot progress in Diyarbakır due to the absence of the suspects' lawyers.
The lawyers for the KCK suspects are not attending hearings in protest of a court decision prohibiting the suspects from making their defense in Kurdish, their mother tongue.
Defendants in the case continue to insist on being allowed to submit their defense statements in Kurdish, a request courts continue to reject. The Diyarbakır court received harsh criticism for referring to Kurdish as "an unknown language" when one of the suspects tried to make his defense in Kurdish last year.
At the 26th hearing of the case at the Diyarbakır 6th High Criminal Court on Wednesday, prosecutor Levent Kaya asked the court to transfer the trial to another province in line with the 19th article from the Code of Criminal Procedure (CMUK) which states that when an authorized court or judge cannot fulfill their duties due to legal or other reasons, the trial is transferred to another court in another province.
Presiding judge Menderes Yılmaz allowed time for the prosecutor to express his view on the issue by the next hearing date.
A total of 152 suspects, 104 of whom are jailed, are standing trial in the case into the KCK, an alleged urban extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
In a 7,578-page indictment the suspects have been accused of attempting to disturb the unity of the state, membership and leadership in a terrorist organization and aiding and abetting a terrorist organization, for which they face jail sentences ranging from 15 years to life without the possibility of parole.
At Wednesday's hearing, there was a group of suspects in court simultaneously as the court decided to listen to the suspects in groups because of their high number.
During the hearing one of the suspects, Muharrem Erbey, began to speak in Kurdish while explaining something to the court, which led the presiding judge to turn off his microphone.
"It has been seen that the suspect spoke in a language which we do not understand and predict that it is in Kurdish," the judge said, as indicated on court records.
Yılmaz said the court had applied to the Diyarbakır Bar Association to appoint lawyers to the suspects; however, the association rejected their request saying that the suspects already have lawyers.
Yılmaz also said the association also changed the password of an automatic lawyer appointment system so that the court cannot use the system to appoint lawyers to the KCK suspects.
Cihan news agencyLast Mod: 10 Ağustos 2011, 18:00