Lawyer Lesage: Attitude towards Kurdish television political, not legal

French lawyer Etienne Lesage said that "the police raid on a media outlet whose doors are open to everyone and who wants to express themselves freely is extremely worrying in terms of the rule of law and democracy."

International reactions to the police raid carried out by the Belgian Federal Police on Medya Haber TV and Sterk TV studios in Denderleeuw, upon the request of France, continue to come through. Etienne Lesage, deputy chair of Lawyers Without Borders and one of the Paris Bar Association Lawyers, commented on the issue to ANF.

'Operation realized with political concerns'

Stating that the police raid on Medya Haber and Sterk TV was carried out with political concerns rather than judicial concerns, lawyer Etienne Lesage said: "I do not have the details of the file. I am not included in this file as a lawyer, but I would like to point out that this is not the first time that police raided the buildings of the Kurdish media in Belgium. A similar incident took place in 2010 and all IT equipment was seized and couldn’t be recovered. Taking these into consideration, it is highly probable that the searches carried out at the Kurdish television buildings in Belgium upon the request of France this time were carried out with political concerns rather than judicial concerns."

Lawyer Lesage added: "There are bilateral agreements between Belgium and France. Kurdish television channels must take the necessary steps to object to the procedures." 

'The attitude of the police has gone beyond normal practices'

Touching on the attitude of the Belgian police in the search of television buildings, lawyer Lesage said: "The police's conduct in the search goes beyond normal rights and practices. The searches are shocking and surprising. It is difficult to say more at this stage, but it is important to present formal protests before taking the necessary steps. An application must be made to the French courts to cancel this investigation, and to the Belgian competent authorities for compensation for the damage suffered."

'Harmful to democracy and the rule of law'

The lawyer continued: "I regret that a media organization whose doors are open and open to anyone who wants to express themselves freely is being raided. Raids on press and television premises are rare, almost unheard of and extremely shocking. I find this situation extremely strange, surprising and extremely damaging to the rule of law and democracy."

'France prefers military alliances, not human rights'

Stating that France's recent attitude towards the Kurds is worrying, lawyer Lesage said: "France and other European countries are attacking Turkey and its citizens, especially the Kurdish people, who are the subject of legal proceedings and pressures even outside Turkish territory, which I know very well as a lawyer. Its attitude towards its citizens is worrying. France, like other countries, seems to prefer purely diplomatic relations, especially within the framework of the broader military alliance NATO, rather than dealing with human rights."