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Turkish court released 8 human rights activists in pre-trial detention

- Turkey Human rights activist trial Oct 2017 - Turkish court released 8 human rights activists in pre-trial detention


nsnbc : The human rights activists detained over a training workshop on July 5, 2017 in Büyükada, nine of whom are in detention on remand, have stood before the judge for the first time after 113 days in Çağlayan Courthouse on October 25. Hearing the defendants Dalkıran, Steudtner, Üstün, Eser, Garawi, Kurşun, Erkem, Acu’s statements of defence, the court has ruled that all eight defendants in pre-trial detention be released pending trial.

The prosecutor of the trial Selahattin Kanbur had demanded in the hearing that seven of the nine defendants in pre-trial detention, namely Günal Kurşun, İlknur Üstün, İdil Eser, Nalan Erkem, Peter Steudtner, Özlem Dalkıran and Ali Garawi be released and Veli Acu remain in jail pending trial.

The prosecutor also demanded that the lawsuit brought against Amnesty International Turkey Chair Taner Kılıç before İzmir 16th Assize Court, charging Kılıç with “financing terrorism and spying”, be combined with Büyükada lawsuit.

Kılıç, who was added to the indictment of Büyükada lawsuit later as a suspect” is being charged with “Being a member of an armed terrorist organization” and the other rights are being charged with “committing crimes on behalf of the terrorist organization without being a member” (Article 220/6 of Turkish Penal Code) and “being a member of an armed terrorist organization” (Articles 314/2 and 314/3 of Turkish Penal Code).

The indictment claims that the rights defenders are members of Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Organization (FETÖ/PDY), Kurdistan Workers’ Party/Kurdistan Communities Union (PKK/KCK) and The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C).

IT specialist Peter Steudtner from Germany has left for Germany. Stating that he is pleased with the release decision, German Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel said, “This is an encouraging signal, a first step”. Noting that “there are other citizens of Germany kept in prison on unintelligible reasons”, Gabriel stated that they will determinedly continue their efforts the release of those citizens kept in prison. “We are grateful to those who have been supporting us.”

In his statement, Steudtner said, “We all are very relieved now. We are grateful to those who have legally and diplomatically supported and acted in solidarity with us”. On his Twitter account, spokesperson for the government Steffen Seibert said, “Finally! Peter Steudtner and other human rights defenders are being released. We are happy for them and our thoughts are with those who are still in prison”.

F/AK – nsnbc 26.10.2017

NSNBC

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Iraqi security arrest drug gang led by Governor of holiest Shia city’s son

- najaf son - Iraqi security arrest drug gang led by Governor of holiest Shia city’s son


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi security on Sunday arrested a drug-trafficking gang in a southern suburb of Baghdad led by the son of the Governor of Najaf, one of the holiest cities in the world.

“The group had three members and was led by Jawad Luay al-Yasiri, the son of the Governor of Najaf,” a security source told Kurdistan 24.

The Baghdad Operations Command in a statement issued on Sunday night said a security force arrested the gang in the predominantly Shia Bayaa district, south of Iraq’s capital.

The gang was caught with a large amount of narcotics in their possession, according to the statement, without giving further details.

Activists posted pictures of six kilos of cannabis, 800 narcotic pills, forged identity cards, and weapons which were seized by Iraqi security.

The pictures show official access cards for the intelligence service, the Iraqi cabinet, the province of Najaf and other places, all in the name of Jawad Luay Jawad. One even designated him a Lieutenant.

Najaf Governor Luay al-Yasiri is a member of the Dawa Party led by former Iraqi Prime Minister and current Vice-President, Nouri al-Maliki, a prominent member of the State of Law coalition, and served as Director of Najaf Traffic Police for several years. The Najaf Governor holds the military rank of Colonel within the Interior Ministry.

Recently, the Governor launched a crackdown on unlicensed casinos and cafes and launched a campaign to spread the veil in the city where the shrine of Imam Ali, the Prophet Mohammed’s cousin, is located.

“I express my keenness for the rule of law and the fight against crime in all its forms. Justice and the rule of law must apply to everyone without exception,” Luay said in a statement since his son’s arrest.

“I would like to express my surprise at the large and systematic media exaggeration and the timing of the coverage which coincided with the proceedings of the case. This indicates the existence of a political smear campaign against the Governor of the holy city of Najaf, so near to the upcoming legislative elections in May.”

The Governor of Najaf called on the Iraqi judicial authorities to handle his son’s case “with full impartiality, regardless of the identity of the accused and background as he is an Iraqi citizen accused under the rule of law and institutions.”

Najaf is a wealthy city known as the third holiest site for Shia Muslims, where millions, namely Iranians, travel to each year as part of their pilgrimage.  

The people of Iraq have repeatedly complained on social media networks that family members and relatives of Iraqi officials and party leaders flaunt the rule of law and have acted with impunity over the past 14 years since the fall of the authoritarian system.

Editing by Nadia Riva



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SOHR Reveals Latest Statistics of Casualties in Afrin

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The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights (SOHR) revealed the latest statistics of the casualties in Afrin.

According to SOHR report released on Monday, January 22th, the number of casualties has risen to 21 due to the Turkish bombardments on Afrin.

“War has started in Shingal, Edmani, Shadiya, Sorka,Hamam, Kurdo which are located in Afrin, among the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) which is the military wing of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Tukish army.

The Media sources belonging to PKK pointed out that 7 civilians were found dead, and 11 others wounded under the devastated buildings in the village of Jilbar due to the Turkish attacks on Afrin.

Turkey on Saturday launched a new air and ground operation on Afrin, a Kurdish city in the northern Syria, under the name of “Olive Branch Operation”.
 
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to eliminate every single YPG fighter in Syria. Meanwhile, PKK had already given orders to have immediate reactions if the Turkish army attempts to attack Afrin.





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Turkey says campaign against Kurdish YPG in Afrin will be swift – Middle East

- 413711 - Turkey says campaign against Kurdish YPG in Afrin will be swift – Middle East


Turkish soldiers are seen near the town of Hassa on the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province, Turkey.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

HASSA, Turkey – Turkey shelled targets in northern Syria on Monday and said its three-day-old operation against Kurdish YPG fighters who control the Afrin region would be completed swiftly.

Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies began their push to clear YPG fighters from the northwestern enclave on Saturday, opening a new front in Syria’s civil war despite calls for restraint from United States, which has armed the YPG.

YPG spokesman Birusk Hasaka said clashes between Kurdish and Turkey-backed forces persisted on the third day of the operation. He said Turkish shelling had hit civilian areas in the northeast of the Afrin region.

Ankara considers the YPG a terrorist organisation with ties to Kurdish militant separatists within Turkey, and it has been infuriated by US support for the fighters. Washington, which is backing the YPG in the battle against Islamic State in Syria, said on Sunday it was concerned about the situation.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has pledged to crush the YPG in Afrin and then target the Kurdish-held town of Manbij to the east, part of a much larger swath of northern Syria controlled by YPG-dominated forces.

That raises the prospect of protracted conflict between Turkey and its allied Free Syrian Army factions on one side and on the other the Kurdish YPG, who spearheaded the US-backed campaign to drive Islamic State out of its Syrian strongholds last year.

But Mehmet Simsek, Turkey’s deputy prime minister who oversees economic affairs in the government, played down the potential for a damaging and drawn-out military campaign.

“Our investors should be at ease, the impact will be limited, the operation will be brief and it will reduce the terror risk to Turkey in the period ahead,” Simsek said at a ceremony in Ankara.

TURKISH SHELLING

A Reuters cameraman near Hassa, across the border from Afrin, saw Turkish shelling on Monday morning. Dogan news agency said Turkish howitzers opened fire at 1 a.m. (2200 GMT) against YPG targets.

It said militia targets were also being destroyed by Turkish warplanes and multiple rocket launchers.

On Sunday a Turkish official said Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army rebel factions had captured a Kurdish village with no resistance and were clearing landmines. The YPG said it had repelled the Turkish forces.

Turkey’s military operation to drive back Islamic State and YPG fighters, which it launched in August 2016 and named “Euphrates Shield”, lasted seven months. So far there has been no indication of major gains on the ground by Turkey-backed forces in Afrin.





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