13 imprisoned politicians do not attend the Kobanê Trial

13 of the 18 imprisoned politicians did not attend the hearing of the Kobanê Case held in Ankara.

The hearing of the Kobanê Case against 108 people, including 18 in prison, began with the monthly detention review.  While the verdict was expected to be announced during the hearing, the court committee decided that it would be announced later “due to the scope of the case file, the number of defendants, the number of offences against the defendants, the statements of the parties and the defence aspects of the defendants and their defence counsels, and the fact that the examination of the case file has not yet been completed.”

The hearing was monitored by the Peoples' Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) co-chairs Tülay Hatimoğulları and Tuncer Bakırhan, DEM Party MPs and lawyers from the DEM Party Legal Commission, CHP Group Deputy Chair Ali Mahir Başarır, Deputy Chair Gül Çiftçi, CHP MPs Sezgin Tanrıkulu and Aliye Timisi Ersever, Workers' Party of Turkey (TİP) MP Ahmet Şık, as well as representatives of political parties and civil society organisations and many people.

While many of the politicians attended the hearing via Audio Video Information System (SEGBİS), some of them were present in the courtroom.

During the hearing, which started with the reading of the documents and excuses added to the file, the presiding judge stated that defendant Ayhan Bilgen requested the lifting of the judicial control measure against him.

The presiding judge said, "We will decide to postpone the judgment hearing to another date, considering that this period will not be sufficient for the completion of the SEGBİS minutes and the scope of the file and the extent of the defences. In this context, we will review the detention status of the arrested defendants today and give another date for the judgment."

Afterwards, the prosecution presented its final opinion and demanded the continuation of the defendants' detention on the grounds that there is “concrete evidence of strong suspicion of guilt” and a "suspicion of flight", that the detention periods for the imputed charges have not been exceeded and that the offences are among the catalogue offences.

The arrested politicians were then given the floor to speak regarding the opinion of the prosecution.

Taking the floor first, imprisoned politician Alp Altınörs noted that they have been imprisoned for 4 years on the pretext of a tweet, saying: "We are in prison on the pretext of a call against ISIS. Our call is democratic, within the scope of freedom of expression. It is a call against terrorism and the genocide of ISIS. I will only remind you of the call made on 6 October 2014 by the then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the world's most comprehensive organisation. Ban Ki-moon said, 'This attack has already caused mass displacement of civilians and deaths. In light of the grave human rights violations committed by the terrorist group during its barbaric attack, the Secretary-General calls on all those who have the means to do so to stand in solidarity with the besieged civilians of Ayn al-Arab."

Altınörs said, "The purpose of our call is clear; it is noble and solidaristic. While the people were being slaughtered by ISIS criminals, we could not remain silent, and we protested against the government that remained silent. Our call was answered. That corridor was opened, and a genocide was prevented. And because the genocide was prevented, we have been imprisoned for 4 years."

Speaking after, imprisoned politician Dilek Yağlı said, "I don't think there is any point in repeating what I assume your committee has been listening to for 4 years, even though it has taken no notice of it. We expressed our opinions in the first interrogations and defences on the merits. You have not heard many of them so far. Now that the judgment hearing has been postponed, it is a little strange that you are now taking into consideration our requests for an interim hearing or our words that 'a healthy trial cannot be held for 4 years in this way'. You have taken us hostage with a sentence that has been expected to be executed for 4 years."

Imprisoned politician Günay Kubilay stated that the trial was initiated as a political choice and said, "The political power, which could not risk fighting the HDP on legitimate grounds, resorted to illegitimate means and initiated this conspiracy trial after 6 years. You, as the delegation, also see this situation. There is a limit to these practices. The Central Executive Board of the HDP was only involved in one action: the Twitter appeal on 6-7 October. This was a legitimate call against ISIS barbarism. If something similar happened today, we would make the same call."

Kubilay said that today Israel's genocidal attacks on Palestine are being opposed and added: "There is a democratic call for support. This is also a call for support that everyone who says they are human will honourably embrace. To punish those of us who made such a democratic call for support would be to reward ISIS at the same time."

Imprisoned politician İsmail Şengül stated that the "picture" to be revealed in the Kobanê Trial will determine the course of Turkey in the coming period.

Jailed politician Selahattin Demirtaş said, "I do not have any demand to speak. I demand the freedom of all my friends."

The names of those who did not attend the hearing today are as follows: Gültan Kışanak, Figen Yüksekdağ, Sebahat Tuncel, Zeynep Karaman, Zeynep Ölbeci, Ayla Akat Ata, Aynur Aşan, Ayşe Yağcı, Pervin Oduncu, Meryem Adıbelli, Ali Ürküt, Nazmi Gür, Bülent Parmaksız.

The hearing was adjourned until 15.30.