Kur?un; Who can expect a non biased verdict from these biased courts?

Journalist Kur?un has been sentenced to 166 years and 6 months in prison in 2010
We translated the letter by Vedat Kur?un, editor of the Kurdish daily Azadiya Welat, published by bianet.

I was born on 27 January 1976 in K?z?ltepe, district of Mardin. I had to move from one city to another for a long time because of my father’s work as a health officer.
It was only after I had graduated from high school in 1993 that I learned to read and write in my mother language. Because of my interest in the Kurdish language, I made no efforts to continue with my education after high school.
I devoted myself to learn my mother language from then on until the year 2000 when I started to work for Kurdish Azadiya Welat paper.
I was not only a correspondent but also responsible for the distribution of the paper to its readers. I was exposed to the pressures of security forces as of the first hours of my first day of work at the paper.

Hardly a day passed without me being detained and taken to the police headquarters. Even the security forces were tired of harassing me as I never abandoned my commitment in working for the paper.

In 2002, I moved on to work for Dicle News Agency (DIHA) where I stayed for four years. I worked in Mardin, Van, ??rnak and Adana as a correspondent.

On 10 September 2004, I was arrested on the grounds of news I was following in Hakkari.

While I was released after spending nearly two months in jail, I still don’t have any exact information about this case because of the fact that not any decision has been conveyed to me so far.

After working for DIHA till 2006, I returned to Azadiya Welat paper as its grant holder and editor in chief.

Returning to my paper pleased me very much after four years of absence.

More and more cases had been opened against me, within the first month of my return. Only this time I was being taken to court halls, not police departments.

I spent more time in court than in my office. During my working period, on 20 March 2007 the court ruled the paper’s publication first suspension.

They not only suspended the paper’s publication, but also continued to open cases against me.

I was arrested and sent to Diyarbak?r D-Type Prison on 5 January 2008 by Diyarbak?r 6th High Criminal Court where I had been called to bear testimony.

Three months later, I was released because of the strong public reaction against my detention.

While the counsel for the prosecution demanded 105 year imprisonment for me, the court board sentenced me to four and a half years in prison on the grounds of “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization”.

This case still continues at the Supreme Court.

On 29 January 2009, I was arrested in line with the verdict of Diyarbak?r 5th High Criminal Court. I have been held at Diyarbak?r D-Type Closed Prison ever since.

The counsel for the prosecution demanded up to 525 year imprisonment sentence for me in this case.

On 13 May 2010, the court board sentenced me to 166 years and 6 months in prison.

About a year later, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment and once again referred the case file to the local court.

At the trial on 13 June 2011, I was this time sentenced to 10 years and 6 months in prison.

This case is also still going on at the Supreme Court.

In February of 2010, Diyarbak?r 4th High Criminal Court sentenced me to three years in prison on the grounds of the same accusations. This case is also still going on at the Supreme Court.

In addition, I was sentenced to four years in prison in connection with the cases opened against me by Istanbul High Criminal Courts. These cases are also ongoing at the Supreme Court.

Except from several issues of the paper I directed for about two years, all issues were sued by different courts. Distorted translation reports and the paper’s issues were the only documents on which the cases were based.

While I was sentenced to the mentioned imprisonments because of the writings published on the paper, the counsel for the prosecution justifies the number of cases by saying that “No change have been made as to the publication policy of the paper despite the numerous cases we have opened against it.”

So, how can we expect a non biased verdict in these cases, taking into account the mentality which opened them? These cases were opened to punish us, so we cannot expect any other verdict.

Court verdicts are a bitter pill to swallow.

Our statements and requests proved with documents were refused by courts without hesitation.

Courts consider the distorted translations as true and refuse our request for a new translation of the documents.

Even the translator himself felt necessary to write on the translation a note saying “I translated the documents trying to be as closest as possible to the originals”.

Despite this fact, the court board rejected our request for a new translation of the documents. Hundreds of examples like these could be given. The last straw though was the decision to prevent me from defending myself in my mother tongue.

* Vedat Kur?un, D-Type High Security Penal Institution, Diyarbak?r


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