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Five children and pro-Kurdish party district chairman arrested for distributing leaflets

(BIANET/IFEX) - Ayhan Demirel, the Tutak district chairman for the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), and five children were arrested by police when they were handing out leaflets related to a school boycott initiated in the Kurdish-majority region of southeastern Turkey. The boycott campaign is demanding the right to education in the mother tongue. It was to start on 20 September 2010 and last until 24 September. Tutak is a town in the province of Agri, in eastern Turkey.

BDP Agri provincial chair Mustafa Akyol told BIANET that Demirel was released later on, together with three children. The other two children were taken to the Children's Court Prosecution in Erzurum because of their young age.

Akyol said that Demirel and the children were arrested because they were campaigning for the one-week school boycott. He reported that he had been interrogated by the Agri public prosecutor a couple of days earlier for the same reason: "I gave my statement to the prosecutor as well because I distributed leaflets. The prosecutors are trying to turn the school boycott in a certain direction. The prosecutor asked me questions such as whether the leaflets were printed by the organization (i.e. the militant Kurdistan Workers Party). My party supports the school boycott. Our co-chairs have issued a related statement and directives were given within the party. We abide by these directives. I wrote the leaflets myself but the prosecutor tries to drag them into a different corner. We claim our right to education in our mother tongue as our democratic right."

The one-week school boycott for the right to education in the mother tongue was initiated by the Movement for Research on the Kurdish Language, Development and Education (TZP- Kurdi) and started on the first day of the new school year.

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