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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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Court Hearings 17 June 1997, DGM 3, State Security Court, Diyarbakir
Date of offence: The year 1993 and previously (Indicment No. 1993/2170)
Charges: Article 168/2 (membership of an illegal organisation) and Article 169 (aiding and abetting an illegal organisation ) of Turkish Penal Code
Adjourned: 16 September 197, at 9am in DGM 3, Diyarbakir

On 17 June, a trial observer mission attended the adjournment proceesings in Diyarbakir State Security Courts in the case against twenty-five lawyers on trial for alleged separatist offences, in a case which begun over three years ago with a series of arrests and the detention of sixteen of these lawyers in late 1993.

The Bar Associations and Organisations represented were: The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (Mr. Mark Muller, barrister and Ms. Jemima Stratford, barrister) which also represented the International Bar Association; the Kurdish Human Rights Project (caroline Nolan, lawyer) who also represented the Lawyers for Lawyers Foundation (The Netherlands), Article XIX, International Centre agianst Censorship (UK) and the Human Rights Committee of the Norwegian Bar Association. An observer from the International Commission of Jurist, Centre for the Independence of judges and Lawyers, (Mr. Fraoncoise Membrez) was also present.

The case was adjourned as three witnesses required to give evidence had failed to appear in Court. One of these witnesses is the key State witness, Abdulhakim Guven, who is now working in Mardin police Headquarters. His evidence is requested again as four lawyers, previously indictd, were not formally joined to the case unitil April 1997 and so it is necessary to re-hear his evidence in relaion to their cases.

The lawyers, if convicted, face sentences which can range from 3-5 years under Article 168 (aiding and abetting) and 5-10 years under Article 169 (membership of an illegal organisation).

The names of the twenty-five lawyers charged in this case are: Sebahittin ACAR, Husniye OLMEZ, Tahir ELCI, Mesut BESTAS, Vedat ERTAN, Mehmet Selim KURBANOGLU, Iman SAHIN, Arzu SAHIN, Mehmet Arif ALTUNKALEM, Meral DANIS BESTAS, Fuat Hayri DEMIR, Baki DEMINHAN, Gazanfer ABBASSIOGLU, Nevzat KAYA, Sinasi TUR, Nizazi CEM, Sinan TANrikulu, Mehmet BIGEN, Feridun CELIK, Zafer GUR, Abdullah AKIN, Edip YILDIZ, Cabbar LEYGARA, Fevzi VEZNEDAROGLU and Sedat ASLANTAS.

A report, Due Process: State Security Courts and Emergency Powers in Southeast Turkey provides a chronology of the case and details of the proceedings against the Accused. It also seeks to examine the operation of due process in relation to proceedings before the State Security Courts in Diyarbakir, under the powers governing the State of Emergency in southeast Turkey and provides an account of the changes to the legislation introduced in March 1997. This report is published by the Kurdish Human Rights Project in conjuction with Article XIX, International Centre against Censorship (UK), Lawyers for Lawyers Foundation (The Netherlands), The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales and the Human Rights Committee, Norwegian Bar Associaton. Copies are available from KHRP, cost £5 + postage.