ISTANBUL – In the Turkish city of Istanbul the trial of 44 journalists working for Kurdish media has started. They are accused of ‘membership of an illegal organization’.
The journalists were detained last December and 35 of them have been in jail ever since. They are being tried in the so-called ‘KCK trials’, in which thousands of Kurds are being prosecuted for membership of the KCK, an umbrella organization of Kurdish groups in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria.
There has been a lot of criticism of the case from the start, including from international human rights organisations. The case against the journalists, they state, is politically motivated and meant to silence Kurdish media. The evidence against the defendants is very weak.
There is not much progress expected at the first hearing. Most of the suspects will want to defend themselves in Kurdish, but the judge won’t allow that.