Imprisoned politicians do not attend the Kobanê Trial

Sixteen of the imprisoned politicians did not attend the final hearing of the Kobanê Trial. The hearing was adjourned to 14.30 after the first statements.


Ten years after the ISIS attack on Kobanê, the former HDP board is on trial because of a tweet. After three years of hearings, a total of 108 personalities from politics, civil society and the Kurdish liberation movement were indicted, including the entire former board of the DEM's predecessor party, HDP.

The final hearing of the Kobanê Case against 108 politicians, 18 of them imprisoned, started in Sincan Prison Campus in Ankara on Thursday. The seats reserved for lawyers in the courtroom were completely filled.

After the identification, the documents added to the file were read. Imprisoned politicians Alp Altınörs and İsmail Şengül attended the hearing. Ali Ürküt, Günay Kubilay, Nazmi Gür, Bülent Parmaksız, Sebahat Tuncel, Zeynep Karaman, Zeynep Ölbeci, Aynur Aşan, Ayşe Yağcı, Ayla Akat Ata, Dilek Yağlı, Pervin Oduncu, Meryem Adıbelli, Figen Yüksekdağ, Gültan Kışanak and Selahattin Demirtaş did not attend the hearing.

Lawyer Sevda Çelik Özbingöl, who made the first statement, said: "We feel obliged to make a few statements on behalf of all our friends who have been tried in the case so far". At this point, the presiding judge intervened and stated that the floor was opened for the course of the hearing. Özbingöl said, "Our clients are not here at this hearing. We will have words to say about both their absence and the decision that may or may not be made today. Our clients are being tried under arrest and I expect the courtesy to listen to us. We have the right to demand this."

Çelik Özbingöl pointed out that an unlawful process was conducted during the trial and said, "From the very beginning of the trial, the principles of the Code of Criminal Procedure, equality of arms and all principles of criminal proceedings have been and are being violated. The court displayed a rejectionist attitude at all stages. We witnessed a series of serious violations by imposing time limits on the defence. The material truth can only be reached through a fair trial. The right to defence is a human right and is guaranteed in national and international law."

Lawyer Faik Özgür Erol demanded that no decision on the merits be made today for the examination of the missing documents and that his clients be released. Erol said, "Neither the police nor the prosecution has identified the real perpetrators of the deceased. We did this. We put them in front of you. On the same day, you made an interim decision and said 'we do not accept the requests regarding persons outside the case'. We showed that paramilitary forces were responsible for the events in demonstrations for Kobanê. We showed the murders committed by Hezbollah members in Dargeçit and Diyarbakır, and by ISIS members in Adana. However, this trial lacks even the ability to produce its own truth. Truth is not that simple, it always has a price. The ones closest to the truth in this entire trial are our friends on trial."

Ayla Akat Ata's lawyer requested time to make a statement regarding the documents added to the file. The court panel rejected the request. The court noted that the decision on the release request will be given with the judgement.

Beyza Üstün, who is on trial without remand, stated that the Kobanê Trial is a case aimed at eliminating the democratic solution of the Kurdish question and said, "I demand our acquittal on behalf of all our friends."

Imprisoned politician İsmail Şengül said, "This tremendous solidarity gives us hope to disperse the darkness over the country."

Imprisoned politician Alp Altınörs said, "Calling for protests on the streets is a democratic right. The case is a judicial harassment to prepare the infrastructure for the HDP closure case and this has been registered by the ECtHR. We will not go back on our word, our call. You cannot cut with an axe what is written with a pen. You cannot judge the solidarity of peoples. You cannot reverse a history written by millions with false witnesses in courtrooms and conspiracy cases. Your duty is to drop this case. Making a democratic call for protests is not a crime."

Imprisoned politician Günay Kubilay said, "I made a 300-page defence for 3 years for a 3-line tweet posted by the Central Executive Board. I think this is enough."

Message from imprisoned women politicians

Sebahat Tuncel, Ayla Akat Ata, Zeynep Ölbeci, Zeynep Karaman, Aynur Aşan, Ayşe Yağcı, Meryem Adıbelli and Pervin Oduncu, who did not attend the hearing, sent a message through their lawyers.

The message written by imprisoned politician Sebahat Tuncel is as follows:

"All constitutional and legal rights of Mr Abdullah Öcalan and his fellow prisoners have been usurped in İmralı F Type prison, which has no place in the democratic legal order and where a special law is applied. The policy of absolute isolation and incommunicado has become a systematic practice. Both the legal and moral definition of this practice is torture, and the objections of the Kurdish people and their friends and lawyers against this torture system have been ignored until today. This system of torture in İmralı Prison does not only mean the usurpation of rights and freedoms, but also leads the Kurdish question to being left unresolved, keeps it on the ground of conflict, and prevents democracy and peace in Turkey and coexistence on the basis of equal and free citizenship. The isolation imposed on Mr Öcalan in İmralı is also the isolation of peace, social peace and democracy. The solution to the Kurdish question, the democratisation of Turkey and the establishment of a democratic legal order require an end to the absolute isolation and incommunicado in İmralı Island Prison. I will not attend the hearing to be held in your court today to ensure the health, safety and freedom conditions of Kurdish People's Leader, Mr Abdullah Öcalan."

The hearing was adjourned until 14.30.