Turkey: Five years imprisonment for
Kurdish 14-Year-Old, 13 minors face up to 100 years
jail in Mardin
February 13, 2010
DIYARBAKIR, Kurdish Southeastern
region of Turkey, — Kurdish
14-year-old C.E. received a five years prison
sentence of a court in Diyarbakir on the grounds of
membership of an illegal organization. Lawyer Akbaş
criticized: "C.E. was not even aware of his
possibility to be punished. The photographs do not
prove his guilt".
The Diyarbakir 5th High Criminal Court handed a 5
years prison sentence to 14-year-old C.E. by reason
of "membership of an illegal organization".
Initially, the juvenile received a sentence of ten
years imprisonment which was then reduced
accordingly. His lawyer Serkan Akbaş declared to
appeal against the decision saying, "This was not a
Archive photo from Turkey
Akbaş indicated, "Children up to
a certain age are not able to anticipate the
negative consequences of their actions and are not
fully sensible of them". The lawyer explained:
"Children are not afraid of penalties since they
cannot foresee the meaning and the result of their
actions. Nevertheless, these children are expected
to give proper, reasonable and logic answers before
the court just like an adult. When C.E. appeared at
court, he was not even aware of the fact that he
might be punished. He did not even defend himself
properly. This was not a fair trial".
Court decision ordered in
the first hearing
The court decided on the case in the first hearing.
Lawyer Akbaş criticized that the "report on the
ability of differentiating between right and wrong"
was prepared in a perfunctory way. He stated that
the photographs presented as evidence did not
provide any proof of C.E.'s guilt.
According to the law, a "report on the ability of
differentiating between right and wrong" has to be
prepared for children younger than 15 years old. The
report should give information on the child's
ability to identify right from wrong and to make a
choice accordingly. It is only after this situation
has been clarified that the child can be held
responsible for the crimes committed.
As reported by Akbaş, the report for C.E. merely
included a few hand-written lines signed by a doctor
from a state hospital.
"Membership of an illegal
organization and committing crimes on behalf of it"
On 9 October 2009, the anniversary of militant
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah
Öcalan's extradition from Syria, a group of people
lit a fire and set up road barricades in Cizre in
the south-eastern province of Şırnak on the Syrian
border. When the police intervened with tear gas and
demonstrators threw stones at them. The police
arrested people in side streets around the
demonstration who they supposed to have attended the
demonstration. 14-year-old C.E. was arrested as
well. He was kept at the police station for one day
before he was released.
When the case was initially filed, C.E. was facing
12 years imprisonment under charges of "membership
of an illegal organization and committing crimes on
behalf of it", "opposing law no. 2911 on public
meetings and demonstrations" and "spreading
propaganda for an illegal organization".
The first hearing of the case was held on 10
February. Photographs of C.E. showing him at the
scene of the event with his t-shirt pulled over his
face were presented as evidence of crime. C.E.
stated that he was on his way to open up the place
he was working for. He apparently ran into the
demonstration by chance and pulled up his t-shirt to
protect himself of the tear gas.
The court decreed for a ten years prison sentence;
the sentence was reduced to five years and 15 days
because C.E. was younger than 15 years old at the
time of the incident.
İHD: 13 Children waiting
for justice in Mardin
The Human Rights Association (İHD) branch in Mardin,
a neighbouring province of Şırnak, announced that 13
children are detained under the Anti-Terror Act (TMK)
in the Mardin Midyat M Type Prison. These 13
children face a total of more than 100 years
The human rights defenders urgently demanded to make
the necessary amendments of the TMK and release the
children as soon as possible.
Since 1984 PKK took up arms for self-rule in the
mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey
(Turkey-Kurdistan) which has claimed around 45,000
lives of Turkish soldiers and Kurdish PKK
guerrillas. A large Turkey's Kurdish community
openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.
The PKK is considered a
'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK
continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite
court ruling which
overturned a decision
to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its
political wing on the European Union's terror list.
The PKK demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds'
identity in its constitution and of their language
as a native language along with Turkish in the
country's Kurdish areas,www.ekurd.net
the party also demanded
an end to ethnic discrimination in Turkish laws and
constitution against Kurds, ranting them full
Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population
as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural
rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish
language and private Kurdish language courses with
the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish
politicians say the measures fall short of their
Last August, the government announced plans to expand
Kurdish freedoms in a bid to erode popular support
for the PKK and end the insurgency.
The Kurdish south of Turkey erupted in protests in
December in the wake of the ban and officials have
rounded up scores of pro-Kurdish politicians as
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