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Labour Party politician convicted for allegedly "praising a crime and criminals"

(BIANET/IFEX) - After saying, "The death of soldiers, and the death of Kurdish martyrs pains us", Tunceli's Province Chair of the Labour Party (EMEP), Hüseyin Tunc, was sentenced to three months' imprisonment, converted into a 1,500 YTL fine (approx. 1,260 US$).

Tunc had uttered the words in a speech in Tunceli on 2 September 2006, saying: "There are battles in Sirnak and Silopi, and soldiers have died there. Believe me, our hearts are aching, when we think of their families. In the same way our hearts are aching, breaking apart because Kurds are going to be martyrs."

The Tunceli Penal Court had sentenced him for "praising a crime and criminals" (Article 215/1 of the Turkish Penal Code).

Tunc's lawyer Baris Yildirim stated that since an appeal against the fine was not possible and being a "person in a political position", Tunc should have more rather than less freedom of expression, they would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The appeal would be based on Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as Article 2 of Additional Protocol 7, which deals with the right to a two-tiered judiciary process.

Following the same speech, Tunc was also tried, but acquitted, under Article 301. He had further said in the speech: "those who speak of peace are hit on the head with truncheons, are sentenced to imprisonment; . . . those in the country who speak of peace are lynched . . . we strongly condemn this hypocrisy. . . "

"If the state of the Turkish Republic, its government and its opposition do not accept Kurds, then they are liars, they are hypocrites, they are the enemy of the people, they are traitors."

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