The mayors of Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality, Mr. Osman Baydemir, and Batman Municipality Mr. Nejdet Atalay were sentenced to one year imprisonment in accordance with the Article 7/2 of law no 3713 on 21.04.2009. The sentence was given by the Heavy Penal Court, which has special position and authority and a new version in other words continuation of former State Security Courts. The accused statement, which is accepted as reason for the sentence, includes the word of “guerrilla”. The article, which was used as ground for the sentence is the article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law that is a serious obstacle to freedom of expression. The following questions should be asked to those who gave the sentence to these two mayors; how much you do implement the Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights? Are not decisions of the European Court of Human Rights binding for you? There is an Article 90 in the Turkish Constitution, is it an article of another country?

In Turkey, unfortunately, the dual legal system has been going on since 12th September. Interestingly the Turkish Penal Code’s articles, which are implemented against opposite groups, Kurds, Alevis, minorities, intellectuals, writers, leftist people, socialist people, human rights defenders, and even liberal democrats, are not implemented against others. Even only this reality shows that there is dual legal system in our country. Special penal courts as well as Heavy Penal Courts, which has special position and authority and continuation of the former State Security Courts and Military Courts indicates that there is a dual legal system in Turkey. The judiciary cannot decide according to individuals’ political position in other words cannot make subjective evaluations. The judiciary must decide objectively and be impartial under any circumstances.

Such a sentence after the recent operations of detention and arrest against the Democratic Society Party or DTP makes the public opinion suspicious that there is an attempt to isolate Kurdish politicians in terms of political activities. Unless the judiciary’s position, which is not partial and independent, will be changed, Turkey cannot become democratic. It is not possible to say that there is democracy in a country in which freedom of expression does not exist.

We call on the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) to make necessary constitutional regulations, which will ensure freedom of expression, clearly in the first constitutional change.

HUMAN RIGHTS ASSOCIATION (IHD)

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