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Kurdish politicians given 28 days to prepare defense for 5,000-page indictment in Kobani case

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Kurdish politicians standing trial in the Kobani case have been given only 28 days to prepare their defense against a 5,267-page indictment, the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya news agency reported on Wednesday.

The Kobani trial concerns the deadly Kobani protests in southeastern Turkey in 2014, in which protestors had expressed their support for Kurdish fighters in the Syrian town of Kobani while accusing Ankara of failing to provide adequate help and of supporting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which had laid siege to the town. Thirty-seven people were killed in the violent demonstrations against the Turkish military.

The court on Wednesday announced an interim decision after the 26th hearing of the Kobani case, in which 108 individuals – including former pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairpersons Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş as well as the party’s Central Executive Board (MYK) members – 18 of whom are currently in jail, are standing trial.

According to Mezopotamya, the panel of judges rejected the requests for a reasonable period of time made by the politicians and their lawyers to prepare their defense, granting them only the month before the next hearing.

The trial was adjourned until Aug. 1.

The court rejected requests for the suspension of the trial and the removal of judicial supervision measures imposed on Sırrı Süreyya Önder, the İstanbul MP of the Green Left Party (YSP), Mezopotamya said, adding, however, that he will be allowed to travel abroad to participate in legislative activities if he provides documentation regarding his need to leave the country as part of his parliamentary duties.

The panel also stated that the pretrial detention of all the politicians would continue, using former HDP MP Altan Tan’s statements during the investigation as the basis of the decision.

The defense’s request for the testimony of then-prime minister and current leader of the opposition Future Party (GP) Ahmet Davutoğlu and then-interior minister and current vice chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Efkan Ala to be heard as witnesses, as well as a request to investigate the fate of certain judges and prosecutors, were denied.

The court also rejected a request to examine certain audio recordings on the grounds that it “did not contribute to the clarification of the material facts.”

Thirty-seven people died in violent demonstrations against the Turkish army’s inaction in the face of an 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.

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