Zarakolu, Ersanlı face terrorism charges in KCK indictment

Zarakolu, Ersanlı face terrorism charges in KCK indictment

Ragıp Zarakolu (L) , Büşra Ersanlı (R) (Photos: AA, Cihan)

March 19, 2012, Monday/ 17:18:00

Publisher Ragıp Zarakolu and Professor Büşra Ersanlı are facing lengthy prison terms on charges of leading and aiding a terrorist organization, according to an indictment sent to an İstanbul court on Friday.

Ersanlı, who was a member of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party's (BDP) constitutional commission, faces up to 22,5 years in jail for leading a terrorist organization, while the prosecutor is seeking up to 15 years for Zarakolu on charges of aiding a terrorist group.

Ersanlı and Zarakolu were arrested in November on terrorism charges as part of an investigation into the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella group that allegedly encompasses the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its affiliated organizations.

Specially authorized İstanbul Public Prosecutor Adnan Çimen, who is in charge of the investigation, sent the 2,400-page long indictment on the case to the 15th İstanbul High Criminal Court on Monday. The court is set to announce its decision on the admissibility of the indictment soon. A total of 147 out of 193 suspects who stand accused in the KCK indictment are currently behind bars.

Amnesty International sent a letter to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay last December calling for the release of Ersanlı and Zarakolu. Amnesty called on the authorities to prevent unfair prosecutions under anti-terrorism legislation by bringing the definition of terrorism in line with international standards and norms.

The indictment mentions incidents involving Molotov Cocktail attacks during campaigns for the June 12 parliamentary election. The chief defendant in the KCK trial is Kudbettin Yazbaşı, who stands accused of being a leading figure in the organization.