Verdict on Kobanê trial to be announced on Wednesday

Ten years after the ISIS attack on Kobanê, the former HDP board is on trial because of a tweet. The DEM party is calling for attention to one of the largest political show trials in Turkey as the verdict is expected tomorrow.

The verdict of the so-called Kobanê trial in Ankara, is to be announced tomorrow, 17 April, after three years of hearings. In a statement, the board of the DEM party provided information about the background to the political show trial and called on everyone to follow the final hearing. A total of 108 personalities from politics, civil society and the Kurdish liberation movement are indicted, including the entire former board of the DEM's predecessor party, HDP. They are accused of “incitement to insurrection” and “splitting the unity and integrity of the country” in connection with protests between 6 and 8 October 2014 against the attack on Kobanê by the terrorist organization Islamic State. The indictment is based on a Twitter message posted by the HDP on 6 October 2014 calling for democratic protests in solidarity with the people of Kobanê. The public prosecutor's office is calling for aggravated life sentences with no chance of release.

“ISIS was stopped in Kobanê”

“ISIS and the forces behind it have committed major crimes against humanity and continue to pose a major threat to humanity,” said the DEM board in the statement on the trial.

After President Erdogan predicted the conquest of Kobanê by ISIS (“Kobanê has fallen, it will fall”), the protests were attacked by paramilitaries and law enforcement: “The peaceful protests around the world were overshadowed by the massacres in Turkey. According to the Human Rights Association (IHD), 46 civilians were killed during the Kobanê protests, while according to the General Directorate of Security, the civilians killed were 48. Dozens of HDP parliamentary motions to investigate the deaths and find those responsible for these incidents were rejected by the votes of the AKP and MHP. In 2020, six years later, a show trial was initiated under the pretext of a tweet because of which HDP members were held responsible for the deaths.”

Political process to liquidate the HDP

According to the DEM board, the Kobanê trial is a political procedure to liquidate the HDP: “All phases of the procedure have revealed that it is about revenge against politicians who took an honorable stance against the atrocities of ISIS.” The investigations initiated in 2014 were resumed after years of standstill without any legal basis and the judiciary was abused as an instrument of government power. The entire process was conducted under political pressure and in disregard of legal norms. The DEM pointed to gross procedural errors and the dismissal of the presiding judge; the defendant's right to defense and a fair trial was in no way protected.

 “The fact that the trial was a conspiracy was also confirmed by judgments of the European Court of Human Rights,” said the DEM board. Many of the defendants, including former HDP leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, have been in prison since November 2016. The European Court of Human Rights classified their arrest as politically motivated and has ordered their release several times. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe last called for the release of the former HDP MPs in March. Turkey ignores these decisions.

“Just as we have resisted and thwarted many unlawful acts so far, we will also thwart this conspiracy. We call on the entire democratic public, civil society organizations and political parties to take sides for democratic politics,” said the DEM board on the eve of the verdict.

In custody for over seven years

18 of the defendants are in prison, some of them for over seven years. The arrested defendants are former HDP leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, as well as Gültan Kışanak, Sebahat Tuncel, Alp Altınörs, Ayka Akat Ata, Ali Ürküt, Ayşe Yağcı, Bülent Barmaksız, Dilek Yağcı, Günay Kubilay, İsmail Şeng ül , Meryem Adıbelli, Nazmi Gür, Pervin Oduncu, Zeynep Karaman, Aynur Aşan and Zeynep Ölbeci.