DON’T CRIMINALISE SOLIDARITY: Oppose new powers to prosecute returnees from designated overseas areas

Public Forum

Friday, 28 June 2019, 6.30-9pm at Room BG01, Brunei Gallery, SOAS University, Russell Square, London WC1H OXG

The event is hosted by SOAS Kurdish Society and Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) and supported by Kurdistan Solidarity Network (KSK), London Kurdish Solidarity (LKS), Democratic Kurdish Peoples Assembly UK; Kurdish Youth Movement; The Network for Police Monitoring (NETPOL); Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers. Continue reading

Public Forum   Time to De-list the PKK: Respect International Law!

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!! Continue reading

Judgement in the Belgian Court of Appeal. Status of the PKK.

Unofficial translation of a judgement given by the Court of Appeal of Brussels on 8 March 2019 deciding that the PKK was a party in a non-international armed conflict with the Turkish State and that therefor international humanitarian law applied and not the terrorism provisions of the Belgian Criminal Code

1. This Judgement was translated by the Defendants in the case to the best of their abilities and is therefore not an official translation of the Dutch text of the judgment. The full original Dutch text can be obtained on simple request by contacting
2. The judgment is not final on 7 April 2019 as the Federal Prosecutor has appealed the decision before the Court of Cassation.

For more information: Continue reading

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.

Please see here a summary of the decision. It is followed by a rough translation of the full Judgement.

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. [1] Continue reading

CAMPACC Oppose new powers to prosecute returnees from designated overseas areas

28 May 2019|Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)

Oppose new powers to prosecute returnees from designated overseas areas

In the wake of the panic caused by British citizens travelling to North East Syria to join ISIS, and the terrorist threat they may pose upon their return, the British government rushed through the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019.  It created a new offence of entering or remaining in a “designated area” overseas (Section 4, amending section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000). The offence would apply to UK nationals and residents, with a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment, a fine, or both. A “reasonable excuse” defence is available; limited exceptions are permitted. But the onus is on the defendant to provide the reasonable excuse. In other words, this Act has eliminated the presumption of innocence and replaced it with a presumption of guilt.

Continue reading

Court of Last Resort in Brussels: Belgian Anti-Terror Law Not Applicable in PKK Proceedings PKK Is Party to a Conflict According to International Law

On March 8, proceedings ended before the Court of Last Resort in Brussels whose result is of great importance well beyond the borders of Belgium, particularly with regard to international law.

A look back: In 2010, a large squad of police was used to search legal Kurdish organizations and production sites of Kurdish television in Belgium and to arrest several representatives of the Kurdish National Congress (KNC). The investigations led to the levelling of charges by the prosecution against some 40 persons who were accused of collecting donations, propaganda, and recruitment for the PKK. In a second case, a Syrian Kurd was charged with having exported communication equipment to Erbil in Northern Iraq, equipment that the prosecution claimed was transferred further to the Kurdish HPG guerrilla. Continue reading

Sixth Hearing of Demirtas Trial Takes Place in Ankara

Written by Margaret Owen (International Trial Observer and Barrister)

On Wednesday 12th December 2018, Solicitor-Advocate Ali Has, Thomas Phillips of Liverpool University, and myself arrive in Ankara to attend the sixth hearing of the case against Selahattin Demirtas, former co-chair of Turkey’s HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party). Demirtas was arrested on 4th November 2016 together with co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ and seven other MPs. He has been in pre-trial detention at Edirne Prison since his arrest. Continue reading

The European Union Court of Justice rules that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was wrongly on the list of terrorist organisations. Interview with Civaka Azad.

Mahmut Şakar, Co-Chairman of MAF-DAD e.V., in an interview with Civaka Azad on the decision of the EU Court in Luxembourg


The European Union Court of Justice ruled on Thursday that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was wrongly on the list of terrorist organisations between 2014 and 2017. The court in Luxembourg declared the underlying decisions of the EU states null and void due to procedural errors. How do you assess this decision and the reasons for it?

I consider the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union announced on 15 November 2018 to be extremely important and historic. Continue reading

2nd International Conference in Turkey 7-8-9 September 2018 – ISTANBUL

This article comprises the speeches of Professor Bill Bowring, Peace in Kurdistan patron and of Thomas Schmidt, Secretary General of the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH), at the Conference.

9 September 2018


The crisis of the European Court of Human Rights in the face of authoritarian and populist regimes

Professor Bill Bowring
University of London
Barrister of England and Wales
President, European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights

This conference has already heard a great deal about the situation of the State of Emergency in Turkey since in failed coup d’état in 2016. My colleague Kerem Altiparmak will speak about Turkey at greater length.

I am going to speak about the shocking deference of the Council of Europe (CoE) in the face of three states which have perpetrated gross violations of human rights in the context of internal armed conflict: Turkey, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

First, a few words about Kerem, and about my own experience taking cases against Turkey.


Continue reading