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Kurdish human rights activist on trial after criticising arrest of children

(BIANET/IFEX) - Ethem Acikalin, president of the Human Rights Association (IHD) in Adana, southern Turkey, is on trial after criticising the province's governor.

Speaking on the satellite channel Roj TV, Acikalin criticised the arrest and punishment of children taking part in demonstrations.

He was investigated for "spreading PKK propaganda," but is now on trial for "inciting hatred and hostility."

On 29 November 2008, Acikalin gave information about the legal situation of the children concerned and criticised their trial.

His court case will begin on 27 October at the Adana 1st Criminal Court of First Instance.

He had criticised the words of Adana governor Ilhan Atıs, who had threatened to withdraw health care support for the parents of children taking part in protests. In addition, Acikalin had spoken of a "dirty war."

He told BIANET that he believes he has been targeted, and that all he did was share thoughts on an urgent issue.

So far 84 children, seven of them arrested, have been sentenced to a total of 382 years and 11 months imprisonment in Adana.

The human rights activist is already on trial for allegedly resisting the police when protesting a police raid at the provincial headquarters of the Democratic Society Party (DTP).

On 15 June, the Adana Heavy Penal Court sentenced four children to a total of seventeen years and six months imprisonment for "committing crimes in the name of an illegal organisation" and "spreading organisational propaganda." The children have been accused of taking part in protests in support of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan on 15 February 2007, shouting pro-PKK slogans and throwing stones.

Three children received sentences of 4 years and 8 months each, and one child a sentence of 3 years and 6 months.

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