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    ’Kurdistan’ leads to court confusion

    28.04.2009 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    ISTANBUL-The use of the word "Kurdistan" by a lawyer during a panel discussion was not deemed a crime by a court even though previously another court had convicted the same lawyer for the use of the word.

    Eren Keskin’s use of the word "Kurdistan" on Aug. 6, 2007 during a panel discussion called "Gender violence arising from the state" while referring to mainly Kurdish populated cities was deemed freedom of expression and not a crime by a court in Istanbul’s Gebze district. During that discussion, Keskin said, "I have never come across a judge that would sentence a soldier or policeman for rape." After her remarks were published in a local paper, a Gebze prosecutor filed a case against Keskin charging her with "inciting the public to hatred and animosity."

    During her trial yesterday Keskin told the court: "I used the term ’Kurdistan’ for the southeastern region mostly populated by our Kurdish citizens. I said justice officials could not penalize members of security forces that commit crimes against citizens because they are under pressure."

    The prosecution asked for her acquittal because her remarks were an expression of her thoughts and the court agreed. On April 2, 2004, Keskin had participated in a panel discussion called "Women, family and society" hosted by the Viranşehir Municipality in Istanbul. "If we look at active gender abuse arising from the state in Turkey and Kurdistan then soldiers are the majority in such cases," Keskin had said. She used the word "Kurdistan" twice during that discussion.

    A court in Viranşehir sentenced her to 10 months in prison and a 3,300 Turkish Lira cash fine in its verdict dated Oct. 16, 2007. The case is currently in the Supreme Court of Appeals.


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