Update October 26, 2015
On October 26, 2015, Turkish media reported that the Istanbul Bakırköy public prosecutor’s office had prepared an indictment against Tahir Elçi on charges of “makıng terrorist propaganda” (article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law), which carries a possible prison sentence of between 1.5 and 7.5 years. The indictment is not yet publicly available and Elçi told Human Rights Watch that neither he nor his lawyer had yet seen it. For a trial to begin against Elçi, a court must rule within two weeks on whether to accept the indictment.
(Istanbul) – The decision to investigate one of Turkey’s most prominent human rights lawyers for “terrorist propaganda” demonstrates the sorry state of freedom of expression and the deeply flawed criminal justice system in Turkey, Human Rights Watch said today.
Tahir Elçi, the head of the Diyarbakır Bar Association, was arrested on October 20, 2015, over comments he made on a television program. The deputy chief public prosecutor for the Istanbul municipality of Bakırköy began an investigation into Elçi after he stated, on an October 15 CNN Türk talk show, that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was not a terrorist organization but an armed political movement.