A Turkish court has given 36 years in total to 11 Kurdish minors who had been trapped in Diyarbakır’s Sur district during a curfew declared on November 28, 2015 and for the ensuing 103 days of clashes following security force raids and were evacuated through a corridor that was later opened up.
According to a report by the pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF) on Friday, a local court’s verdict for the 11 Kurdish minors was overturned on appeal, and the case was heard again. Some of the teenagers stood trial without remand and were represented by their lawyers at the fourth hearing held at the Diyarbakır Juvenile Criminal Court. The prosecutor alleged that the youngsters acted in line with outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) goals of their own volition and were part of the organization.
The prosecutor asked for a sentence for “membership in a terrorist organization” and for the minors’ acquittal of the crime of “disrupting the unity and integrity of the state” due to a lack of credible evidence. The prosecutor also asked for the juveniles’ release considering time already served.
The court handed down the same sentences as before. M.F.D, S.K., F.B., M.S.K. and A.A., who were on trial without remand, were issued six-year sentences for “membership in a terrorist organization.” The sentences were reduced to 2.5 years after taking into account their lack of a criminal record, their ages, 12 and 15, at the time of the crime and their good behavior during the trial. The sentences were suspended for the five minors as the court was convinced that they would not repeat the offense. The teenagers will be on judicial probation for three years.
The court sentenced minors R.A., R.H. and Ş.A. to three years, four months in prison each for “membership in a terrorist organization” and did not suspend the sentences. Minors F.Y. and M.Ç. were sentenced to four years, five months and 10 days in prison, while Ö.S. was sentenced to five years, four months in prison. The 11 minors collectively received 36 years, eight months and 20 days in prison.
The court also refused to reduce Ö.S.’s sentence, claiming the minor “displayed a negative attitude during the trial” when Ö.S. insisted on delivering his defense in Kurdish.