|KHRP Publishes Latest Issue of its Legal Review and Trial Observation Report|
KHRP is pleased to announce the publication of issue 13 of its biannual Legal Review, and its latest Trial Observation Report, ‘Persecuting Publishers, Stifling Debate: Freedom of Expression in Turkey’.
KHRP’s Legal Review is the only existing legal journal covering significant legislative and policy developments in the Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and the Caucuses and is essential reading for anyone interested in monitoring legal developments in these countries.
Covering the period from December 2007 to June 2008, the Review features news and updates from the Kurdish regions, and summaries and analysis of the most significant decisions of the ECtHR, ECJ and UK Courts. Uniquely, the journal covers new cases that have not yet reached any judicial decision, but nonetheless provide invaluable updates of the most recent allegations of human rights violations to be submitted to international courts and mechanisms. Articles in this issue address the implications of oil contracts in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, women and religious freedom, internally displaced women in Western Turkey and extra territorial acts in Iraq.
KHRP’s latest Trial Observation Report details the processes it observed during the final stages of the trial of Ahmet Önal, the Kurdish publisher, on 13 February 2008 in Istanbul. Mr. Önal’s trial concerned a paragraph in a book he published, Diaspora Kürtleri (Diaspora Kurds), which discussed the role and influence of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) amongst Kurds in the former Soviet Union. This led to charges of his showing demonstrable support of an ‘armed terror organisation’.
The Report also places KHRP’s procedural observations in the context of Turkey’s obligations to ensure a fair trial for all its citizens, as well as the ongoing challenges to freedom of expression in Turkey and its bid to accede to the European Union. Although Mr. Önal was acquitted of his charges, the report reflects concerns that spurious charges and trials are being used in Turkey to obstruct the operation of publishing and journalism, and more broadly to inhibit public discussion of fundamental political, social or historical issues. As the Report details, several similar prosecutions of individuals who have exercised their right to freedom of speech are ongoing in Turkey, indicating the extent of the problem.