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KHRP | Kurdish Human Rights Project

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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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On 21 January 1997, a Trial Observer Mission comprising of representatives of: Norwegian Bar Association (Mr.Jon Rud, Lawyer); Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (Mr. Andrew Collender, QC and Mr. Andrew Muttitt, BL); lawyers for lawyers, The Netherlands, (Ms. Mariette Timmer, lawyer) a member of the German Bar (Mr. Hans Eberhard-Schultz) and Kurdish Human Rights Project (Caroline Nolan, lawyer) attended at this trial in Diyarbakir State Security Courts, (DGM 3).

Initially, it was anticipated that the final judgement would be handed down on this date as the prosecutor had made his recommendations on the case to the Court last September and final defence submissions had also been submitted prior to this date. However, the case was adjourned and the reason given was to allow the new replacement military judge appointed to the court time to evaluate the evidence on the files.

The recommendations of the Prosecutor, was made known to the Court on 19 September, 1996 are; to convict five of the defendants, all lawyers, under Article 186/2 (membership) and sentence them to not less than twelve (12) years imprisonment, and to convict the rest of the defendants, save one, under Article 169 (aiding and abetting) and sentence them to not less than four ahd a half years imprisonment. By virtue of thefact that these offences also fall within provision of the Anti-Terror Law, it is permissible to increase the penalties by one-half. This case began in late 1993 when, during November and December sixteen of the Lawyers were arrested and detained for periods of time ranging from seven (7) days to twenty-six (26) days before being brought before a Court. Under the State of Emergency legislation, detention periods of up to thirty days are permissible.

The basis of the evidence agianst the lawyers primarily rests on; (1) the confessions taken from them while in detetion, (2) the testimony of three informers- one informer retracted her statement, and another was not called togive evidence as his statement was considered too general, and (3) documentation seizea during searches.

At this stage, it is considered that all of the evidence is before the Court. While this case is drawing to a close, it is not confirmed that the next heaing date, 8 April 1997, will be the final verdict date.

Applications to the European Commission of Human Rights The legality of the detention and the conditons of dentention, incuding allegations of ill-treatment, have been challenged by the lawyers and applications submitted to the European Commission of Human Rights, in 1994, concerning sixteen of the lawyers, were the subject of a Admissibility hearing by the European Commission on 2 December 1996. The applications were declared partially admissible. A report on the case was the subject of a separate Press Release (KHRP 3/12/12/96) The European Commission will now proceed to consider the merits of the case.