Public Forum: Time to De-list the PKK: Respect International Law!
The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is not a terrorist organisation, according to the March 2019 decision by Belgium’s Court of Appeal, applying principles of international law. How can we use this decision to strengthen the legal and political means of the international campaign to de-list the PKK?
The event is hosted by Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), Peace in Kurdistan, London Kurdish Solidarity (LKS), Democratic Kurdish Peoples Assembly UK
Thursday, 20 June 2019, 6 – 8pm at Diskus Room, UNITE Head office, 128 Theobald Road, WC1X 8TN (5 min from Holborn station) Please arrive on time as the building closes at 8pm!!
The event is chaired by Anne Gray of CAMPACC. The main guest speaker will be Jan Fermon the Belgium lawyer in the case who led the successful defence of the Kurdish activists in Belgium. He will be joined by Alastair Lyon of BirnbergPeirce Solicitors and Nik Matheou, London Kurdish Solidarity (LKS)
Main facts regarding the case
On 8 March 2019, the Indictment Chambers of the Court of Appeal of Brussels Belgium took a decision dismissing the case and ending all further prosecution against 40 persons and 2 companies for being agents of PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party.
The decision comes to the same conclusion as the earlier decision of the same court pronounced on 14 September 2017, subsequently quashed on some deficiencies in the statement of reasons by the Court of Cassation on 13 February 2018, namely that the conflict between PKK and the Turkish state is an non-international armed conflict as defined by international law and ruled by the laws of war (international humanitarian law), not by anti-terrorism laws.
The 42 defendants faced prosecution for leadership of a terrorist group or assistance of any kind to such a group. None of the defendants were suspected of any direct or indirect involvement in acts of violence. The alleged facts underlying the accusations were collecting funds for PKK, spreading propaganda and/or participating in the recruitment for the organisation.
The defendants were all Kurdish activists in Belgium, some holding positions in the Kurdish National Congress (KNK), some being members of local Kurdish associations and others being representatives of Syrian and Iranian Kurdish political parties etc. The two companies which were prosecuted are production companies for Kurdish television and radio. The Prosecution argued that all these organisations, parties etc. were in reality integral parts of PKK.
Read more: https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/2019/06/10/decisions-of-the-court-of-appeal-indictment-chambers-of-brussels-belgium-14-september-2017-and-8-march-2019-in-the-case-against-alleged-pkk-leaders-and-members/#more-9689
Translation of the most recent case of the Belgium Judgement:
Jan Fermon is a lawyer at the bar of Brussels (Belgium) since 1989. He is the acting Secretary General of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. He is specialised in criminal law, international law and human rights. He assisted political activists and movements that were criminalised either in their homelands or in Belgium and other European countries. He acted as a trial observer on behalf of several international organisations amongst others in trials against political activists in Turkey. He is the author of a book (with Prof. Ties Prakken) on Political Defence (in Dutch). In a recent trial in Belgium against 42 alleged PKK members and leaders he pleaded with success that the conflict between Turkey and the Kurds should be ruled by international humanitarian law and not by national anti-terrorist laws.
Alastair Lyon is a solicitor at Birnberg Peirce, a long-established firm dedicated to upholding civil rights and liberties. Over many years he has represented activists fighting for the Kurdish cause, including those sought for extradition by the Turkish authorities and those arrested by the authorities in this country for domestic prosecution. Most recently, he has been assisting those detained on their return from assisting the YPG in Rojava, including Josh Walker, a young Welshman prosecuted at Birmingham Crown Court under anti-terror legislation.
Nik Matheou is a historian at the University of London specialising in Anatolia, Armenia and Kurdistan, and an organiser with London Kurdistan Solidarity, the London local group of the Kurdistan Solidarity Network, a coalition of groups that provide education on the theory and practice
of the Kurdish Freedom Movement, outreach about the revolutionary struggle in Kurdistan, and campaign in practical solidarity as part of the broader movement.
For information contact:
CAMPACC or PEACE IN KURDISTAN
Mobile: 07846 666 804