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Belgium: political trial against DHKP-C

25. September 2006

Report from the appeal court

which took place from September 11th-19th, 2006

When law is ending and political prosecution takes over its place


Between 11th and 19th September (2006) one of the most spectacular trials against presumable members of the DHKP-C was handled before the court of appeal in Gent, Belgium. On 28th February, 7 of 11 defendants were sentenced with 4 – 6,5 years of prison. 4 of the 11 accused have been acquitted by the court, but the Federal prosecutor went into appeal for 9 of the accused.

Since end of February 3 of the defendants, Musa Asoglu (6,5), Sükriye Akar (4) and Kaya Saz (4) remain in the prison of Brugge under strong isolation conditions, despite of several court decisions saying that there was no reason to isolate them.

All three prisoners, and the spokesman of the DHKC Information Bureau in Brussels, Bahar Kimyongür just as Hasan Ekinci who was aquitted from the trial but again included by the appeal of the Federal prosecutor, were present at the courtroom with their lawyers on their side.

Following the demand of lawyer Fermon, also Taylan Tanay, lawyer from Turkey joined the trial. Furthermore over hundred ‘prisoners’ relatives’, members of CLEA (Committee for the Freedom of Expression and Association) and international delegations from Italy, Austria, England and Germany filled the courtroom.

During the trial, which continued for 7 days, also the defendants made statements. Bahar Kimyongür’s lawyer Carl Alexander, stressed, that the accusations of prosecutor were completely untrue. “It is claimed that Musa Asoglu and Bahar Kimyongür confessed themselves to a bomb action of DHKC, during the press conference ‘Resistanbul 2004’ (a left alliance founded in relation to the NATO summit in Turkey), which took place on 28th June 2004.

But this claim has been completely proven wrong by video records from this press conference by IHA and AA (two official press agencies from Turkey). There are many other witnesses, just like a correspondent of the Italian News Agency, who could confirm that such a confession of an action wasn’t the case. Furthermore, only 4 months after the incidents, the Ministry of Justice answered to a question about DHKC Information Bureau, that the activities of the bureau were legal and according to the law.

Musa Asogolu, for whom prosecutor Delmulle asks the highest sentence, is exactly tried in connection with the alleged confession to the action during the mentioned press meeting.

While Asoglu is tried for the Knokke case related to a criminal organisation, because of arms and false documents found there, in fact they aim to punish him after the anti-terror law. But the only argumentation for trying him after that law is the accusation to have confessed the action”)… Prosecutor Delmulle wants to pave the way for a prosecution according to the “anti-terror law”.

The lawyer on behalf of the Turkish state, Kris Vincke, spoke about the “geo-political position” of Turkey. He said for example, that “Turkey is under threat of communist dictatorships” and that “organisations like the DHKP-C, attempted to carry out its bloody actions against the Turkish state, in order to create a system, which is not democratic at all”.

Musa Asoglu’s lawyer, Jan Fermon defended: “A Belgian court is not in the position to make a decision on the struggle waged in another country. And even, if that foreign country isn’t a state of law at all and this conflict takes place only within that country. This conflict is an internal problem of Turkey, into which a Belgian court isn’t authorized to interfere.”
Lawyer Fermon additionally mentioned the “state of necessity” according to the law in relation with the violent action forms by DHKC. He also leaned on reports of the human rights associations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or the European Court for Human Rights, defending that violent actions of a non-parliamentary, oppositional movement are inevitable. He also reminded to article 2 of the Human Rights Convention, that foresees the “right to resist against oppression” in the case of state terrorism.

But Fermon stated, that in any case, because this would be a political decision, the recent court shouldn’t give a decision about it.

In his defense, Musa Asoglu said: “70% of the trials in Strasburg are in relation with the Turkish state. During the past 30 years 50.000 people died resulting from state terrorism.
Bahar Kimyongür stated: “Dear judge, the prosecutor is asking you to punish me and expects from you to restrict freedom of expression and democracy in your country. In this sense the burden on your shoulders is heavy. Prosecutor Delmulle and the lawyer of the Turkish state Vincke, introduce DHKP-C as a dangerous, fanatic and terrorist organisation. On the other hand they introduce the Turkish state as a democratic and a state of law. Indeed, this is a democracy of their dreams! A democracy that they want to put into life in Belgium… A democracy, which tortures, constantly puts political prisoners under torture, that honours the torturers (…). Not to see this open reality, means absolute denial. Prosecutor Delmulle tries to write history another time, without a shame and his position demonstrates the political character of the trial.”

Kimyongür also responded on the prosecutor’s accusation, that the ‘DHKP-C doesn’t respect any different view’: “The Turkish state tells its citizens, beginning from the childhood, until their period for army, ideas like ‘Every Turk is born as soldier’ or ‘What a luck to those who can say I’m a Turk’. Just follow the subtitle of the biggest newspaper in Turkey, saying ‘Turkey belongs to the Turks’. Totally in contrary, DHKP-C gives the chance to all minorities in the country, to speak about their national, religious identity. Musa Asoglu is Abaza, Dursun Karatas and Fehriye Erdal are Kurds, Sükriye Akar is Las, Zerrin Sari and Kaya Saz are Turkish. I am Arab. As an Arab, I have met with intolerance and fanaticism in the Turkish state. The friends of DHKP-C always showed respect to my nationality.”

The state prosecutor asked 10 years for Musa As oglu and Dursun Karatas (secretary general), 7 years for Bahar Kimyongür and 5 years for Kaya Saz, Sükriye Akar, Fehriye Erdal and Zerrin Sar i. He asks 3 years of prison and a fine of 2500-5000 Euros for Hasan Ekici and Irfan Demirtas, who have both been acquitted in the trial.

The court decision will be announced on 7th November 2006.


First of all: The trial is executed by an exceptional court. The judge, Freddy Troch, is a very controversial character; he violated the law on protection of data privacy 10 years ago by leaking data on political opponents to the Turkish government while the Federal procurator responsible for this case, Johan Delmulle, declared from the very beginning that he is going to make an example out of this trial.

By its political character, its exceptional measures taken during the hearings and the heaviness of the punishments, this trial is a danger for all democrats and progressive organisations and individuals. A confirmation of the condemnations given in February in appeal will strengthen the pressure on all forces who fight imperialism and even social injustice on European soil. Among the defendants there are well known left-wing political activists. They are accused of membership in a criminal association while two of them were also alleged to be members of a terrorist organization according to the new Belgian anti-terrorist law.

Eventually the trial caught the attention of the mass media, because of Fehriye Erdal, one of the accused. She worked in Istanbul’s Sabanci Centre. The Sabancis are one of the most rich and powerful families in Turkey, ruling political an economical life in the country. In January 1996, Ozdemir Sabanci was killed in the Sabanci Centre in an attack claimed by a guerilla unit of the DHKC. Fehriye Erdal was literally hunted. Even the Turkish media reports that there are bounty hunters searching for her. That’s why she went into hiding until she was arrested in Belgium in 1999.

Turkey immediately tried to gain influence over the Belgian legal system by carrot and stick methods. Eventually legal means and economic relations opened the door for Turkey to Belgium’s courts. Turkey managed to take part in the case in a way which violates fundamental international and national laws. A state can’t be joint plaintiff in another state. This backyard door, opened to Turkey by Freddy Troch, allowed Turkey to get all files related to the trial!

In addition the defense underlined that the DHKP-C is only fighting in Turkey, where its members are tortured, hunted and murdered by the Turkish government. At this point we have to recall the massacres like Sivas, Gazi and Ümraniye which took place in the 1990’s, the several massacres in the prisons as the September 1999’s massacre of Ulucanlar prison in Ankara, the 19th December 2000 bloodshed in 20 prisons of the country and the ongoing oppression against the Kurdish people. Turkey’s lawyer did not deny what is happening in Turkey, but he explained that the Turkish government has its reasons for behaving in this way. Admitting all these cruelties had no consequences for the Turkish state. As we know, Turkey is a EU candidate… Delmulle and Troch were very committed to Turkey. Finally the judges sentenced 7 of the accused, 5 for their membership in a criminal organisation, 1 for his membership into a terrorist organisation and one for both.

This definition of terrorism mentioned in the new Belgian anti-terror law is so large and unclear that it allows various interpretations. Its base is cadre-decision of the European Commission in 2001, after the attacks against the twin towers. In this cadre-decision, there was also a list of so-called terrorist organizations, known as the “black list”. This decision and the selection of the political and military organizations in that list were made secretly, without any debate and possibility for the concerned organizations to oppose this decision.
The DHKP-C was never considered as a terrorist organisation in Belgium until the verdict of February trial. Furthermore, in 1999 there hasn’t been a “black list” introduced yet, except of the list of the US State Department. But now, with the new judicial weapons called anti-terror law, the Belgian authorities make all kind of abuses by turning this trial into a political process.

Indeed, this trial tried to condemn the ideology and the aims of the DHKP-C. The simple sympathy to this revolutionary movement is considered as terrorism, and is enough to be sentenced for years of prison. This happened to Bahar Kimyongur. Bahar Kimyongur was born in Belgium. He graduated in Archaeology and went to Turkey for excavations. There he learned about the state terror of the Turkish government… Since then, he has campaigned for democracy and human rights in Turkey. He has never used violence in his life. He organised a press conference about the NATO summit in Istanbul and also participated in the protest rally against the summit. Twice he made statements on television: Once about an incident in 1991, and once about a bomb which went off by accident in Istanbul. These were reasons enough to find him guilty of membership in a terrorist association. The anti-terror laws, based on fantasies make that possible. He had nothing to do with the events in Knokke. Just like another person convicted, who has been in prison since February 28, 2006: Sukriye Akar.
Sukriye Akar is a political activist, who actively opposes human rights violations in Turkey and seeks democratic rights there. Her particular interest is the cause of political prisoners. Her husband has been in one of the notorious F-Type isolation prisons of Turkey since 2001. She has several times met with European Parliament members and Turkey, which needs a clean bill of health to get into the EU, must see her as a thorn in its side. She is accused for no reprehensible act but only for her supposed presence in this house. At the moment she is held in Brugge prison in isolation conditions.

But that is not the end of it. For Delmulle’s stroke of genius is that he has brought all files from DHKP-C proceedings all over Europe into this case. The new anti-terror laws makes it possible. The close connections between Belgium and Turkey make similar strokes of genius possible and allow classical penal laws to be basically ignored. Although that can only be decided by a court, the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs told his Turkish counterpart that Fehriye Erdal would be extradited to Turkey, where she’ll face certain torture and maybe death.

She was well advised to disappear underground a day before the trial ended. Now Belgium has decided that Fehriye Erdal can be be found guilty in Belgium of the 1996 Istanbul “murder of Sabanci”. The law lets itself be bent, broken – and bought.

by “Turquie Rebelle”