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Bookstore owner sentenced to one year in jail for pro-Kurdish statements

(BIANET/IFEX) - Seferi Yilmaz, whose bookstore in Semdinli, Hakkari was attacked in November 2005, faces a prison sentence for referring to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) condemned leader, Abdullah Öcalan, as the "Kurdish people's hero", during a panel discussion in Bursa.

Yilmaz, who is destined to be sent to Hakkari E-type prison, said he will apply to Turkey's Human Rights Association (IHD) and appeal the accusations.

It was established that the Semdinli bombing was carried out by army officers, in order to cause provocation in the region. Noncommissioned officers Ali Kaya and Özcan Ildeniz, and a PKK member-turned-informant, Veysel Ates, were accused of bombing a bookstore owned by Yilmaz.

IHD Hakkari branch representative Necdet Korkmaz stated that Yilmaz is yet to be arrested so that he can serve his sentence and that his lawyers had appealed the prosecution's demand.

Yilmaz had been condemned for "propagating in favor of the PKK" and was sentenced to a year in prison. However, he had already served nine months while being tried in detention and was later released before the trial was completed. He was allegedly denied any reduction of his sentence on the grounds that he received disciplinary penalties while in prison.

"In such cases, the sentences could be reduced by a quarter but I was not able to benefit from this. This is unlawful and unacceptable. I'll do what's in my power to appeal this decision," Yilmaz said.

Currently, Yilmaz is preparing to appeal, and according to BIANET's information, he has not gone to prison yet.

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