Editor, writers appear in court, trials continue
(WiPC/IFEX) - As International PEN's Turkey Campaign continues, the organisation has
reported on new developments in the cases of Melih Pekdemir, Asiye Güzel Zeybek and "FoX 2000".
Pekdemir, a writer and publisher, appeared before the Supreme Court in Istanbul on 27 March 2002 to appeal against a three year and nine month sentence for his book on Kurdish issues. International PEN considers the sentence to be a violation of Pekdemir's right to freedom of expression and is calling for the charges to be dropped. The trial was postponed to 17 April, when the final verdict will be made.
The trial of Zeybek, former editor of a radical newspaper, is yet to conclude over five years after her arrest. The latest hearing on 27 March was a continuance of a series of hearings on her case that started in 1997. Zeybek claims to have been raped in custody and her alleged attackers have not been prosecuted. International PEN is deeply concerned by the extreme length of Zeybek's trial, during which time she has remained in prison, and is calling for a review of the decision not to proceed with the investigation into her alleged torturers. Zeybek's next trial hearing is due on 5 June, when a final decision on her case is expected.
In the "FoX 2000" case, six writers are among fifteen individuals who appeared in court on 26 March to hear the continuing trial against them for their collective publication of a book entitled "FoX 2000" ("Freedom of Expression 2000"). The trial, which was opened in October 2001, is to have another hearing on 11 June. International PEN believes that the prosecution of the FoX defendants reveals the extent to which Turkish legislation is used to suppress legitimate commentary on issues ranging from minority rights to allegations of corruption.