Protest at Kobani trial sparks complaint against lawyers

481
0

Defendants and their lawyers in a trial concerning deadly protests in southeastern Turkey in 2014 refused to attend the latest hearing in protest of the court, which they accuse of violating the defendants’ right to a fair trial, prompting a complaint against the attorneys, the Mezopotamya news agency reported on Thursday.

The trial of 108 Kurdish politicians, 28 of whom are currently in jail, including former pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, saw no attendance of the defendants and their attorneys at the latest hearing on Thursday.

The move, which sparked a complaint against the lawyers on charges of “abuse of public office,” came after they, along with representatives from the HDP’s Law and Human Rights Commission, announced in a public statement on Wednesday that they wouldn’t attend the hearing to protest the court’s unfair attitude towards the defendants.

“Why was this case launched and why do we call it a ‘plot trial?’ … This case stands before us as a trial for the [Justice and Development Party (AKP)] government to hide the truth and cover up their crimes,” they said, adding that several motions by HDP to investigate the events during the Kobani protests were rejected by the AKP and its ally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

“The real issue here is the political power’s influence over the judiciary. … We are talking about a case where the interior minister is one of the complainants. How can we talk about impartiality in such a trial?” they said.

The lawyers and politicians further stated that the defendants would not act in a way that legitimizes the case nor would their lawyers be party to the “fake trial” as long as the court fails to seek a fair trial.

The lawyers on Thursday also told reporters that they had filed a complaint with the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) against the judges of the Ankara 22nd High Criminal Court for violating their defendants’ right to a fair trial.

The case against current and former members of the HDP stems from one of the darker episodes of the decade-long Syrian war.

Thirty-seven people died in violent demonstrations against the Turkish army’s inaction in the face of an Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) offensive against the largely Kurdish northern Syrian town of Kobani in 2014.

Demirtaş had called for street protests in support of Kurdish fighters in Kobani while accusing Ankara of failing to provide adequate help to the town and of supporting ISIL.

The HDP accuses the government of provoking the deaths.

In the 3,500-page indictment, drafted more than six years after the protests and accepted by the court in January 2021, the defendants face various charges related to the protests that include 37 counts of homicide and disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state.

Liked it? Take a second to support Turkish Minute on Patreon!