Friends of Adem Uzun: Open Letter to the French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira

5 February 2013

Dear Mrs Christiane Taubira

The arrest of the prominent Kurdish peace advocate Adem Uzun in Paris last year came as a great shock to us all as it coincided with progress towards the opening of peace talks between Turkey and the Kurds.

Over 200 public figures, lawyers and politicians with expertise in the matter of the Kurdish question in Turkey and many community activists, grass-roots campaigners and trade unionists have come together to establish the “Friends of Adem Uzun” and support the call for Mr Uzun’s release. You will find our appeal and the lists of signatories to the initiative below and attached. We kindly urge you to take note of their strong collective voice.

Our familiarity with Adem’s role as a peace activist and as a politician with the Kurdistan National Congress, KNK, has led us to conclude that he is fully dedicated to achieving a peaceful and political solution to the Kurdish question. He had been one of the key negotiators for the Kurdish side in the so-called “Oslo Process” which involved high-level Turkish Government representatives.

Hopes of a breakthrough in the talks are now a real possibility and whether this is likely to yield lasting results depends on the skill and determination of the negotiators.

We are convinced that Adem Uzun has a crucial part to play in these talks which have a long way to go before a settlement can be reached.  As such we urge you to release him in order to enable him to resume his work that is beginning to bring about the lasting peace for which everyone is searching.

 

Estella Schmid

On behalf of “Friends of Adem Uzun”


For further information

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
And Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) UK

Estella24@tiscali.co.uk

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Friends of Adem Uzun

Initiative by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign and Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) UK

FREE ADEM UZUN

The Kurdish politician Adem Uzun was arrested in France on 6 October 2012. Having been denied bail, Adem remains in detention awaiting a trial which could be months away.

Adem Uzun is a prominent activist working to achieve peace through the resumption of negotiations between Turkey and the Kurds. A leading politician with the Kurdistan National Congress, KNK, Adem is well-known to anyone involved in the Kurdish issue, especially in the European Parliament, and has been one of the main Kurdish negotiators in the so-called “Oslo Process” with high-level Turkish Government’s representatives.

The charge against Adem Uzun is not supported by credible evidence. At the time of his arrest, Adem Uzun was in Paris to take part in preparations for a conference on Western Kurdistan (Syria), which was scheduled to take place on 13 October 2012.

We believe that the arrest of Adem Uzun, which has been made on Turkey’s request, is an attempt to undermine the search for a peaceful political resolution of the Kurdish question.

The prosecution intends to equate two separate organisations, the KNK with the PKK, in order to de-legitimise political efforts towards resolution of the conflict. This same tactic is today being used by Turkey to repress and silence the non-violent dissent of thousands of Kurdish politicians and activists.

The offence of belonging to a terrorist organisation in France and across the EU, is a highly politicised ‘crime by association’. It criminalises the entire Kurdish political movement by imputing activists to be the PKK, in the clear absence of any engagement in violence.

The EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) Conference, meeting in Brussels on 5th and 6th December, passed a special resolution calling on the French authorities to immediately release Adem Uzun. ‘’As a leading legitimate politician of the Kurdish political movement Mr. Uzun is well known for his advocacy of a democratic and peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem for which he was chosen to be one of the negotiators in the Oslo Peace Talks,’’ the EUTCC stated. The resolution urged the ‘’expeditious conclusion to his case by dropping the accusations against him’’.

Adem Uzun is fully committed to a peaceful settlement and we are concerned that peace and reconciliation will be much harder to achieve without the expertise of such a seasoned activist.

We strongly reiterate the demand to French authorities for our friend Adem Uzun’s immediate release and for the dropping of the baseless accusations.

We urge everyone who is committed to a peaceful political resolution of the Kurdish conflict to declare themselves friends of Adem Uzun and to add your voice to the calls for his release.

 

Friends of Adem

Estella Schmid, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign & CAMPACC; David Morgan, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign; Melanie Sirinathsingh, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign; Akif R Wan, KNK representative UK; Philip Khaled Brennan, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign; Paul Burnham, housing worker, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign; Les Levidow, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC); Saleh Mamon, CAMPACC; Desmond Fernandes, CAMPACC; Anne Gray, retired academic, CAMPACC; Lord Rea, House of Lords; Sarah Ludford MEP; Andrew Duff MEP; Jean Lambert MEP; Jill Evans MEP; Jeremy Corbyn MP; Conor Murphy MP; Elfyn Llwyd MP;  Hywel Williams MP; Mary Glindon MP; Frances Webber, human rights lawyer and writer; Elizabeth Forrester, lawyer; Alastair Lyons, lawyer; Margaret Owen OBE, international human rights lawyer; Prof Bill Bowring, Barrister, Director of the LLM/MA in Human Rights, School of Law Birkbeck, University of London; Hugo Charlton, barrister, 1 Grays Inn; John Hobson, lawyer; Melanie Gingell, barrister; Nick Hildyard, policy analyst; Jonathan Fryer, writer, lecturer and broadcaster; Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation; Prof Mary Davis; Bruce Kent, Vice-President Pax Christi; Dr Dafydd Iwan, B.Arch., LL.D.,Plaid Cymru, the Party of Wales; Dr Felix Padel,  Social Anthropologist, Author and Political Activist; Lindsey German, Convenor, Stop the War Coalition; Dr Vicki Sentas, School of Law, University of New South Wales, Sydney; Kariane Westrheim, PhD, Associate professor,  University of Bergen, Chair of EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC); Dr Michael Gunter, Professor of Political Science, Tennessee Technological University, Secretary General of EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC); Rojin Tasman, Law student, Anglia Ruskin University; Azad Dewani, PhD researcher in Peace Studies, UK; Jonathan Bloch, councillor;  Alain Hertzmann, Branch secretary London North West Branch  9708,  UNITEtheunion, UK; Stephen Smellie, Deputy Convenor, UNISON Scotland; Fred Leplat, Socialist Resistance; Sarah Parker, translator; Ed McArthur, activist; Jagdeesh Singh of the 1984 Genocide Coalition; David Brunetti, photographer; Glyn Harries, Hackney Trades Union Council, personal capacity; David Ambrose, Performer, Writer, Director of Beyond The Border International Storytelling Festival; Mike Arnott, Secretary, Dundee Trades Union Council; Harem Karen, Kurdistan Tribune; Penny Dimond, Factory of the Eccentric Actor; Orsola Casagrande, journalist; Prof. Khatchatur I. Pilikian (SHS, LH, LSFC); Andy Higginbottom, Secretary of Colombia Solidarity Campaign; Kani Areef, UCL Law Postgraduate; Derwich M. Ferho, director of Kurdish Institute, Brussels; Mehmet Ali Dogan, Social-Anthropologist, France; Yuksel Guney, political activist; Jyan Avesta, Kurdistan LGBT Initiative and Halkevi, Kurdish-Turkish Community Centre; Manaz Baloch Baloch community UK activist; Hagir Ahmed, Sudanese community UK activist;  Jennifer Langer Director, Exiled Writers Ink  UK; Michael Mansfield QC, President of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers; Liz Davies, barrister and chair of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers; Kat Craig, Vice-Chair of Haldane Society; Gareth Peirce, human rights lawyer; Russell Fraser, pupil barrister, Haldane Society; Iratxe Urizar, Basque lawyer;  Barry White,  European Federation of Journalists  (personal capacity); Ms Silvana Barbieri, Italy, human rights defender, Italian association “Puntorosso”; Mr Luigi Vinci, Italy, former MEP, editor of “Progetto Lavoro”; Tony Shito, Italian musician, song-writer, Italy; Martha Jean Baker, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; Maggie Bowden, General Secretary, Liberation; Robert Atkins, solicitor; Paul Heron, solicitor, Hackney Community Law Centre; Aviva Stahl, political activist; Sheila Mosley, human rights activist: Support Kurds in Syria – SKS (personal capacity); Handren Ashraf  Naoman, General Director, European – Kurdistan Green Organization; Kadim Lacin, Journalist; Hoshyar K. Karadaghi, Chairman, Kurdish Personalities in the UK; Ali Ghahrmani, Kurdish Academic Network (KAN); Serdar Ulus, Architect, designer; Marouan Nabo, Human rights activist, President of Kurdistan House USA; Sylvia Novaes, Geologist, Free Consultant; Syed Gilani, solicitor; Asif Bhayat, activist; Anthony Bairstow, Fight Racism Fight Imperialism & Hands off Somalia; Hovarim Isse, youth worker; Greg Tonuczak, banker; Kyronne Parkes, FRFI & Hands off Somalia; Mohamed Hashi, Somali community; Maya de Souza, Green Party Councillor, Camden; Tom Foot, editor Camden New Journal; Chris Den Hond, producer, journalist; Secunder Kermari, journalist; Kadim Lacin, journalist, UK; Kerim Yildiz, DPI; Hikmet Tabak, politician; Mustafa Gundogdu, DPI; Dr Ahmed Semo; Xusrew Zeki, human rights activist/KNK; Sahar Serdasht, student; Kristiina Koivunen PhD, independent scholar; Rabia Khan, student, Birkbeck College and Stop the War Coalition; Sema Thompson, interpreter; Chris Nineham, Stop the War Coalition; Huseyin Gok, self-employed; Birsan Demirel, translator; Rojda Yaman, student; Eylem Guler, solicitor, Archgate Solicitors; Ahmet Koz, self-employed; Insin Onder, software engineer; Madhi Hussein, student; Hasan Oymer, self-employed; Sait Akgul, legal consultant; Can Atas, pharmacist; Aladdin Srafa, self-employed, KCC; Dondu Demira, budget officer; Solman Kayim, student; Yusuf Golek, student; Ollie Sutherland, student; Birgil Yilmaz, student; Kurda Areef, student; Azad Masko, student; Anil Doner, student, SJC; Mehmet Meria, student, SJC; Jine Kalay, student; Fiat Kalay, student; Arif Bektas, journalist; Ata Mufty, journalist; Sherko Zemaloush, activist; Rebwan Salam; Ferhan Yildiz, student; Yasar Gonul, activist, KCC; Berivan Bottologlu; Fero Firat, interpreter, SWP; Mustafa Kadir, activist; F Maroofi, activist; A Amini, activist; D Abbas, academic; D Asaid, activist; Anne Crozier, teacher; Arzu Pesmen, political activist; Arman Banirad, Lawyer; Tim Gopsill, Editor, Free Press, Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom; Michael Ellman, solicitor; Kulka Iwona Bugno, sociologist; Neil Taylor, lawyer and Journalist; Ozlem J.Murray, law student; Can Yildiz, journalist; Latif Serihildan Takak & Carla Takak, Kurdistan Solidarity Ireland; Hoshyar K. Karadaghi, Chairman, Kurdish Personalities in the UK; Farman Khoshnaw, teacher, KPA-UK; Chyman Khatab, Accountant, Easyjet; Dr Sirwan Khafaf, retired university lecturer & veterinary surgeon, member of KPA-UK; Trifa Khafaf,Bsc. Chemistry, retired.member of KPA-UK; Julia Davidson, Secretary Scotland Against Criminalising Communities. Deniz Arbet, PHD law student, Queens University Belfast; Rinaldo Francesca, Liberation; Milan Milowitch, film-maker; Andrew Penny, writer and translator; Michael Baron, poet and writer; Rachel Bird, Project Coordinator; Housan Mamoud,  Women’s Freedom in Iraq; Sait Keskin, PhD candidate in Kurdish Studies, University of Exeter; Fatima Keskin; Sipan Keskin, student; Fourat Keskin, student; Dilan Keskin, student; Shilan Keskin, student; Joe Ryan, Westminster Dioceses Justice and Peace Commission; Gareth Evans, writer; Lorna Martin, writer; Feryal Demirci, Hackney councillor; Gulay Icoj, Hackney Councillor; Ali Demirci, Haringey Councillor; Deniz Ozgurkerti, Hackney Councillor; A.D. Jwar Yuce, building contractor; Hogir Firat, unemployed; Abdulkodir Koban, businessman; Hussain Kondamir, worker; Selim Besci, geologist; Selina Bailey, housewife; Jude Zagros, factory worker; Malik Habib, plumber; Juan Efrin, IT consultant; Nidal Habidy, plumber; Hussein Maamo, photographer; Kawa Amin, medial Registrar; Amang Hassan, campaigner; Saddettin Aygun, factory workers; Serife Mehmet, musician; Cigdem Karaalioglu, Fed-Bir; Selda Aksoy, co-chair of Roj Women; Yilmaz Gul, Engineer; Ali Boyran, activist; Neskihay Sever, activist; Mahmet Erden, activist; Salman Kayim, activist; Arin Banirad, teacher; Turkan Ozcan, activist; Ercan Akbal, activist; Siner Arslen, activist; Graham Williamson, Steering Committee, Nations without State.

 

5 February 2013

 

Contact:

Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Contacts: Estella Schmid and Melanie Sirinathsingh
Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk
http://www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.wordpress.com

Patrons: Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Elfyn Llwyd MP, Conor Murphy MP, John Austin, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, Edward Albee, Margaret Owen OBE, Prof Mary Davis, Mark Thomas

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