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Sociologist and lawyer convicted of "making propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers' Party" in magazine article

(BIANET/IFEX) - The Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court convicted sociologist Ismail Besikci and lawyer Zeycan Balci Simsek of "making propaganda for the PKK organization", the outlawed armed Kurdistan Workers' Party. The charges stem from an article published in the "Contemporary Law and Society" magazine, the periodical of the Contemporary Lawyers Association's (CHD) Istanbul Branch.

Besikci was sentenced to one year and three months in prison, while Simsek was ordered to pay a TL 16,660 (approx. €7500) fine because of the contents of an article entitled "The right of nations to self determination and the Kurds". The final hearing was held on 4 March 2011.

The decision was how about to simplify: made by majority vote. Judge Seref Akcay opposed the vote noting that in his opinion the defendants should have been acquitted.

The CHD condemned the decision, saying in a written announcement, "We are all forced to accept the fact that it is a crime in this country to think, to express ideas and to state the existence of Kurds."

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