Gültan Kışanak refuses to make a defense during hearing

Held hostage by the Turkish state in prison, former co-mayor of Amed Metropolitan Municipality Gültan Kışanak refused to make a defense during a hearing.

The 10th hearing of a lawsuit filed against former co-chair of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) Sebahat Tuncel and former co-mayor of Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality (DBB) Gültan Kışanak was held on Friday.

Kışanak attended the hearing through the video conferencing system (SEGBİS) from Kandıra Closed Prison while her lawyers; Diyarbakır Bar Association President Cihan Aydın and Mehmet Emin Aktar and Mesut Beştaş attended from Diyarbakır Courthouse via SEGBİS. In the trial held at the Malatya 5th High Criminal Court, Kışanak stands trial for “being a member of a terrorist organization” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

Sebahat Tuncel did not attend the hearing since she was in quarantine due a hospital transfer.

The court decided that the file at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court which deals with the Sarmaşık Association should be combined with the file in which Kışanak stands trial.

Concerning the lawsuit against Sarmaşık Association, Kışanak said, “You have had the file for 4 years. The entire file was opened with political motives.”

Kışanak said, “There are elections on the agenda. There is pressure on your court due to this. I hope that the law will not bow to political motives. I will not make a defense.”

Kışanak's lawyer Mehmet Emin Aktar pointed out that there is no justification for his client's detention. "Any decision to be made regarding the continuation of my client's detention from now on is clearly a violation of law," he underlined.

Lawyer Mesut Beştaş pointed to the Kobanê case opened in Ankara and voiced his reaction, "We do not understand how my client is connected with the Kobanê incidents."

Lawyer Cihan Aydın said, “It is a shame to accuse some people who supported the Sarmaşık Association, which was closed following an irrelevant governmental decree. The Sarmaşık Association issue is a tragicomic matter."

The court board decided to continue the imprisonment of Tuncel and Kışanak and adjourned the next hearing to 21 May.

Tuncel was sentenced to 15 years and Kışanak to 14 years and 3 months in prison for "membership of a terrorist organization" and "making propaganda for a terrorist organization". After this verdict, both politicians applied to the Court of Appeal. Thus, the decision of the local court was reversed by the 18th Chamber of the Antep Regional Court of Justice, and the case started at the 5th High Criminal Court of Malatya again.