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Radio Dunya acquitted after facing charges for broadcasting Kurdish folk song; other charges still pending

(BIANET/IFEX) - According to broadcasting editor Mehmet Arslan of Radio Dunya, a case brought against the station for playing the Kurdish folk song "Mihemedo" in 2007 has ended in acquittal. However, another case against the station is still in court.

Radio Dunya broadcasts in the province of Adana, in southern Turkey. On 23 February 2009, the radio station's lawyer, Tugay Bek, learned that the station was acquitted in a trial concerning the 2007 broadcast of the song.

The case had been pending at Adana's 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance since 8 January 2008. Arslan had faced imprisonment. However, the court has now decreed that there was no proof of a crime.

The folk song "Mihemedo", sung by exiled Kurdish singer Siwan Perver, has since been played on the newly set up state TRT 6 channel which has been broadcasting in Kurdish since January 2009.

However, when it was broadcast on the local radio station in Adana on 16 October 2007, the Anti-Terrorism Unit of the Adana Police filed a criminal complaint.

According to "Radikal" newspaper, the prosecutor's indictment cited the following lyrics of the song as an incitement to hatred and hostility: "Let the Turks also feel pain, they say that they have laid out my Mehmed in the sun, they told me and said, the Turkish soldiers followed my Mehmed and caught him, for the life of me, tell them in Diyarbakir and Siverek, tell the fathers and brothers to take revenge for my Mehmed."

An expert report ordered by the court had found that "although there are some suggestive words in the song, it is a folk song. It is not clear that it was broadcast in order to spread hatred among people deliberately, and no criminal intention has been found."

While the acquittal has been met with joy by the radio station, Kenan Karavil of Radio Dunya pointed out that there was another court case hanging over the station.

"We are on trial at the Adana Criminal Court of First Instance for playing the 'Kece Kurda' ('Kurdish Girl') song sung by Aynur Dogan in Kurdish. This is despite the fact that national media play this song without problems," Karavil said.

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