On 17th September 2013 the 8th hearing in the “KCK-Lawyers-Trial” in Silivri (near Istanbul) took place. The 50 defendants, 46 lawyers, 3 employees and a journalist are accused of running a terrorist organisation (KCK as part of PKK) or of membership in the same organisation. The KCK or Union of Communities in Kurdistan is a Kurdish organization, founded by Abdullah Öcalan, which is suspected by the Turkish Government of collaboration with the PKK.
The arrested lawyers have two common characteristics, 1) their Kurdish ethnicity and 2) that they acted for Mr. Ocalan at various times since his capture in1999. The prosecution alleges that the lawyers took specific terrorist-linked orders from Ocalan and conveyed the same to the PKK.
It has been 22 months since these lawyers were rounded up in dawn raids by Turkey’s anti-terror police. Throughout this period many of the defendants have been held in pre-trial detention, without any reason being given. From time to time, some have been bailed, but 15 lawyers still remain incarcerated. The trial was opened in July 2012.
Four ELDH lawyers* formed part of the 30-strong delegation of lawyers observing this trial from different organisations and bar associations originating from Canada, Germany, France, Holland, UK, and Switzerland. Some deputies of the Kurdish Party BDP were also present, among them the ELDH member Hasip Kaplan.