Belgian Court Rules that the PKK is Not a Terrorist Organisation.

Case Commentary.
On the 14 September of this year a judgement was handed down in the case of a group of Kurdish activists who faced trial on terrorism charges in Belgium. The defendants were acquitted as the  court found that the PKK is not a terrorist organisation but rather a party to an internal armed conflict in Turkey.
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This case in the Belgian Court of Appeal centred around the Defence proposition that the activities which the prosecution relied on to make out a case of terrorism occurred in the context of an internal armed conflict in Turkey and should therefore be governed by the rules of international humanitarian law rather than domestic terror provisions.

The question that fell to be considered by the court was whether or not the PKK was involved in an armed conflict in Turkey. If it was, then the domestic criminal law of Belgium would not apply and the matter would be subject to the Geneva Conventions, in international law. Continue reading

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CAMPACC reports on the first of their innovative workshops series on self-determination

CAMPACC has initiated a research and outreach project which aims to critically examine the contradictions between national struggles for self-determination and the global ‘counter -terror’ regime, which has begun with a series of workshops focusing on key case studies – the Kurdish question; the Tamil struggle and the Somali struggle. Below is the report from their first workshop, which includes videos of each of the presentations.

On the 21st February 2015 CAMPACC, in association with SOAS Kurdish Society, hosted the first workshop in a series on Self-determination against the global ‘counter-terror’ regime. This was on the Kurdish liberation struggle. Continue reading

International legal conference condemns PKK ban

‘Terrorism’, self-determination and the PKK ban on programme at Bonn Conference

Next weekend an international conference will tackle anti-terrorism legislation, international law and the impact of this framing on the Kurdish struggle. Taking place in Bonn, Germany, the conference will bring together lawyers, barristers and academics around a series of discussion that will include such topics as the right to self-determination; concepts of ‘terrorism’; legal challenges to the PKK ban and the impact of the ban on the Kurdish people; as well as quests for a legal and political solution.

The conference has been organised by MAF-DAD and Azadi Freiheit, which are both on the forefront of leading appeals agains the prohibition of the PKK, in association with European Association of Democratic Lawyers (ELDH), Internationale Liga fur Menschrechte and VDJ.

You can download a full programme here. We will bring you papers and the final resolution of the conference once we receive hem.

Abuse of process by Turkish government in extradition case ‘a serious indictment of the Turkish state’, says barrister

1 May 2014

eu turkey
Deniz Akgul, a British citizen originally from North Kurdistan, recently had an extradition request dismissed after the Westminster Magistrates Court found that the government of Turkey had deliberately misled British courts and abused the extradition process.

In a remarkable ruling, the district judge Shenagh Bayne dismissed Turkey’s request to extradite Mr Akgul, who was accused of providing ‘material support’ to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the form of food, books and cameras under Article 220/7 of the Turkish Penal Code. In her final judgement, the judge not only concluded that the Turkish government abused the extradition process, but she also accepted evidence that Mr Akgul had been previously tortured by Turkish authorities and would face a real risk of further ill-treatment were he to be returned to Turkey.

His barrister, Ben Cooper, has defended some of the most complex extradition cases and won numerous successes on human rights grounds. He has defended ETA suspects and IRA suspects, as well Babar Ahmed and others accused of terrorism by the US. Peace in Kurdistan Campaign spoke with him to find out more about the case and why the ruling is so important.

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Rest in peace and power, Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Tony Benn, one of the UK’s foremost radical leftist politicians, president of Stop the War Coalition, long-time supporter of Kurdish rights, sadly passed on today. Here we recall his words on the Terrorism Act 2001, which criminalises the entire Kurdish community and many others as ‘terrorist’, when it was first introduced:

Tony-Benn-picture
“Until we can get the act defeated we are all going to live under its shadow”
Tony Benn

One of the last things I did before I left Parliament to devote more time to politics was to vote against the Terrorism Bill. It was introduced, after 24 hours, without any real discussion … I might add this was just after the Americans had bombed Sudan allegedly in an anti-terrorist act described as a humanitarian mission by the  United States … What you have to recognise is that imperialism always dresses itself up in the language of humanitarianism, always. Any one who remembers as I do what Britain was like when the Empire was there, it was our mission to the world, the sun never set on the British Empire, it was the white man civilising the world.

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BDP MP for Hakkari Adil Zozani: ‘We are determined to take this journey for peace’

INTERVIEW

1 October 2013

 

Mr Adil Zozani, Member of Parliament for the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), was recently in the UK to attend the Labour Party Conference and address a public meeting with members of London’s Kurdish community. Peace in Kurdistan Campaign spoke with him about the conference, the BDP’s role in current peace negotiations for the resolution of the Kurdish Question, and about Turkey’s questionable role in developments in Rojava, northern Syria.

How has your message been received so far in the UK, and in particular, at the Labour Party Conference, where you spoke at a meeting that was attended by the Turkish Ambassador to the UK?

The Labour Party Conference was very interesting, and it was clear they are very excited about the possibility being in leadership again.  I met many people who were in solidarity with the Kurdish movement and found that the Kurdish question was well known amongst them.

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PANEL DISCUSSION: Anti-terror Legislation and the Obstruction of Justice

Please find below information on our next  meeting, which is free and open to the public. All welcome!

Anti-terror Legislation and the Obstruction of Justice

The Implications of Mass Trials in Turkey for the Peace Process with the Kurds

Wednesday 9 October 2013, 6.30pm

Venue: Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincolns Inn Fields, London WC2A (closest tube Holborn)

Chair: Prof Bill Bowring School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London; President of the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH); International Secretary of the Haldane Society and Founder and Chair of the International Steering Committee, of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC).

Panelists: Margaret Owen OBE, barrister/Door tenant, 9 Bedford Row Chambers; Bronwen Jones, barrister, Tooks Chambers; Tony Fisher, solicitor and Law Society Human Rights Committee member; Hugo Charlton, barrister, 1 Grays Inn Square Chambers; Ali Has, solicitor/advocate and member of the Law Society Human Rights Committee International Action Team; Mark Jones, barrister, St Ives Chambers.

Organised by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign and Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH)

Find the event on Facebook

Register here

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Turkey, peace talks and the PKK: Freedom and Justice for the Kurds

Panel Discussion

Friday, 28 June 2013, 6.30pm
Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A (closest tube Holborn)

 

Chaired by Professor Bill Bowring, President of the European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Panel Rights (ELDH); International Secretary, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

Speakers include Gareth Peirce, human rights lawyer; Melanie Gingell, barrister Doughty Street Chambers; member of the Bar Human Rights Committee; Dr Ozlem Galip, researcher and lecturer, University of Oxford; Prof Dr Michael Gunter, Professor of Political Science, Tennessee Technological University, Secretary General of EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC); Barry White, National Organiser of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, member of European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)

Over recent months dramatic developments have been taking place in Turkey with the emergence of direct talks between representatives of the Turkish government and the imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan. The seminar will explore how a lasting peace can be secured now that a ceasefire has been followed by the start of a phased withdrawal of Kurdish guerrillas.

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German authorities review the ban on the PKK/trial test and talks with Ankara

 

Berlin – MESOP – 2.6.2013 – In secret negotiations with Turkey, German security authorities are reviewing the ban on the activity of the left-extremist PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), imposed in 1993.

Members of the Interior Ministry of the German Bundestag like Franz Josef Jung (CDU) and Dieter Wiefelspütz (SPD) have pointed to consultations, which suggest that the VS had originally expressed vehement opposition against the PKK ban. They are now “testing” the Turkish reaction. The latter being negative for sure, but possibly only towards outside – as the legalisation of the PKK in the foreseeable future would allow the Erdogan government to lead more relaxed talks and negotiations with the PKK.

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