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Singer faces two lawsuits, multiple investigations

(BIANET/IFEX) - Two lawsuits and seven investigations were opened against Kurdish singer Ferhat Tunc in connection to speeches he delivered during the run-up to the general election on 12 June 2011. Tunc was campaigning as a deputy candidate of the Labour, Democracy and Freedom Block for Dersim.

Tunc appeared before the Tunceli Magistrate Criminal Court on 13 December. He is tried under allegations of "praising offences and offenders" as stipulated in Article 215 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK). The charges stem from the terms "guerrilla" and "respected Ocalan" (the imprisoned leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party - PKK) that Tunc used during a program hosted by Tayfun Talipoglu on TV 8.

The separate pending trial against Tunc before the Nazimiye Magistrate Criminal Court was continued 12 December. In this trial, he is again charged with "praising offenders and offences" because he used the word "martyr" during his election campaign.

The seven ongoing investigations were launched on the grounds of speeches made in the region of Dersim (Kurdish-majority south-eastern Turkey) during the pre-election period.

In an interview with BIANET, Tunc said that he was being tried because of his use of the word "guerrilla" at several places including State Security Courts (DGM) in the past and that he had always been acquitted.

According to Tunc, the trials on the above-mentioned charges were opened against him intentionally even though the judges knew that the use of that word did not constitute a reason for punishment.

All his speeches made during the run-up to the election were messages of peace related to a democratic and violence-free solution to the Kurdish question, Tunc emphasized. Contrary to the allegations, he did not say anything that would have encouraged the people to participate in an uprising, he said.

Tunc's lawyer, Baris Yildirim, said that all trials and investigations opened against Tunc fell into the scope of freedom of expression. This, according to Yıldırım, was contrary to the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

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