The Court of Appeals 9th Criminal Chamber approved the sentences imposed on 56 mayors of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP). The mayors had been convicted because of advocating against the closure of the Kurdish Roj TV channel broadcasted from Denmark. The DTP was closed by the Constitutional Court in December 2009.
The 54 mayors were sentenced to imprisonment of three months each by the Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court on 15 April 2008. They had sent a joint letter to Anders Fogh Rasmussen, then Prime Minister of Denmark, requesting not to close down the satellite channel Roj TV. The mayors were convicted of "praising crime and a criminal".
Sentence although Denmark claimed "lack of evidence"
The court punished the defendants according to article 215 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK) (praising crime and a criminal) and mitigated the sentences to two months and 15 days. The penalties were converted into a monetary fine of 875 YTL (approx. € 435) to be paid by each defendant based on article 52/ 2 of the TCK. Three mayors were acquitted, among them one DTP member and two members of the Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP).
No other case had yet been opened against Roj TV at the time. Furthermore, the Denmark Media Secretary had sent a report to the Diyarbakır Court saying, "We have no evidence that the channel violated the Danish publication laws". However, the court decreed for the conviction of the mayors. This decision has now been approved by the Court of Appeals.
Trial against Roj TV in Denmark
Eventually, the Danish Public Prosecutor, Jörgen Steen Sörensen, filed a criminal complaint against Roj TV and the Mesopotamian Broadcast Company, both operating from Denmark, on the grounds of "supporting activities of the PKK", the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party which is listed as a terrorist organization by the EU, the UN, the USA and other states and international organizations.
After six years of investigation, the prosecution demanded the closure of the channel, according to article 114 of the Danish Criminal Law stipulating that "a person, a group or an organization shall be punished for activities that aim at terror actions".
Ankara – diyarbakır – BİA News Center
13 September 2010, Monday