Indicted Politician Tan: “I Will not Go to Court”

The court decided to bring Altan Tan, deputy of the pro-Kurdish BDP, to court on compulsion. He is facing more than 23 years in jail. “One day, these prosecutors will be ashamed like the prosecutors of 12 September”, Tan told bianet.
Altan Tan, Diyarbak?r Deputy of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and member of the Constitutional Preparatory Commission, is facing imprisonment of 23 years and six months in a trial based on several meetings he attended prior to the general election in June 2010.
The trial was opened on 23 August 2011 and its first hearing was held before the Diyarbak?r 7th High Criminal Court on Tuesday (18 October).
Nor un-detained defendant Tan neither his lawyer attended the hearing. The court board announced that the notification had been made but that Tan was not present for the enquiry. Thereupon, the prosecution demanded to bring the defendant to the coming hearing on 14 December 2011 on compulsion.

The court board decided in line with the prosecutor’s request and decreed that Tan was to be brought to the coming hearing by “police force”.

“I will not attend the second hearing either”

In a statement made to bianet after the first hearing, Tan said that he was not going to attend the second hearing either.

“I will not go to the second session and nothing will happen. If the prosecutor and the judge miss me that much they will come personally”, Tan remarked. He claimed that in this kind of trials the judiciary was being used as a tool by the politics.

“Nowadays, prosecutors and the Diyarbak?r Public Prosecutor, Ahmet Karaca, in particular are using the law as a tool for politics. I visited him and said, ‘do not open a trial based on such issues, you will be embarrassed tomorrow’. But he insists on starting procedures. One day, these prosecutors will feel ashamed just as the 12 September [military coup] prosecutors. Just as the prosecutors and judges of 12 September cannot go out without being embarrassed, one day these ones will not be able to go around without feeling ashamed”, Tan indicated.

23.5-year prison threat

Tan stands accused of “making propaganda for a terror organization” and “committing a crime on behalf of an illegal organization without being a member of that organization” on the grounds of a couple of meetings he attended in the run-up to the elections.

The related indictment was prepared by the Diyarbak?r Public Prosecution. The allegations are based on Tan’s attending the funeral ceremony of members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who were killed in clashes with security forces in Pazarç?k (Kahramanmara?) on 23 April 2011. He is also alleged of having joined a group that was chanting slogans in favour of Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Tan supposedly did not make any attempt to stop the group from shouting the pro-Öcalan slogans and thus allegedly contributed to the offence they were committing.

Furthermore, the indictment put forward that Tan attended a press release regarding a three-day mourning announced by the PKK on 16 May and that he visited a commemoration ceremony for the killed PKK members.

The indictment seeks prison terms of 23 years and six months in total on the grounds of the three incidents. Tan is charged twice with “making propaganda for the PKK”, twice with “opposing the Law of Meetings and Demonstrations” and once with “committing a crime on behalf of an illegal organization without being a member of the organization”.

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