February 11th, 2008

The DHKP-C trial in Belgium, which opened in 1999, came to an end on 7th February, 2008. After that long trial period, the Cassation Court of Antwerp has acquitted 4 of the 7 people convicted earlier, namely Sükriye Akar, Bahar Kimyongür, Dursun Karatas and Zerrin Sari…


The court decided on a suspended sentence of two years for Fehriye Erdal, a suspended sentence of three years for Musa Asoglu and for Kaya Saz a sespended sentence of 21 months, as well as a monetary fine of 1230 Euros each.

In the decision of the Cassation Court of Antwerp the accusation of the Federal Prosecutor, that the “DHKP-C was a criminal and terror organisation” was rejected. The judge stated that the 7 defendants can only be tried for incidents directly related to them and that their activities in Belgium didn’t go beyond the limits of freedom of thought, expression and protest. The judge rejected all charges brought by the prosecutor regarding the membership in a criminal and terrorist organisation and conditionally set free 3 defendants for the possession of false documents and arms.

Further the judge stated, that it wasn’t a crime to translate and comment a statement of the DHKC and that the court wasn’t authorised to put people on trial for their ideas. He added: “In our country it is not a crime to be a member of the DHKP-C”.

In the decision it was also stressed that the lawyer hired by the Turkish state can’t be accepted as a civil party in this trial and that “the Turkish state wasn’t damaged either materially or morally” and therefore it was not in place to take part as a civil party”.

The reading of the verdict started at 9.30 a.m. and ended at 4.30 p.m.At 8.30 on the morning of the trial verdict, around 250 people gathered in front of the court. There were banners with the inscription “Resistance and organising are not crimes”, “We don’t want a political trial in Belgium” and “No to anti-terror laws” during the protest.

3 of the defendants, who were on trial but not in prison on remand - Musa Asoglu, Sükriye Akar and Bahar Kimyongür - were present in court.
Further, persons like the Belgian Green Party’s senator Josy Dubie, Green Party parliamentary Fouad Lahssaini and the chairman of the Flemish Human Rights Association Jos Vander Velpen were among the participants.
After the announcement of the decision, the crowd gathered again in front of the court and listened to the speeches of the lawyers and defendants.

Lawyer Jan Fermon expressed his contentment with the independent behaviour of the judges, who didn’t make the trial a political case.


The trial at the Belgian Cassation Court of Antwerp, which refused to define the DHKP-C as a terror organisation, is still on the front page of the country’s newspapers.

Belgian newspapers stated that the final verdict was totally different from both court decisions that were taken before.

The defendants were both at court in Bruges on 28th February 2006 and at the revision court of Gent on 7th November 2006 they were sentenced to from 4 to 7 years in prison for “membership in a terrorist organisation”. A political trial took place which presented the ideology of the defendants as evidence of crime, declaring the Turkish state to be democratic and stating that this would “be a blow to the terrorist actions of the DHKP-C”.
On 19th April 2007, both verdicts were annulled by the court of appeal in Brussels by reason of the fact  that the “trial wasn’t impartial” and the imprisoned Musa Asoglu, Sukriye Akar, Kaya Saz and Bahar Kimyongur were released. In November 2007 the Court of Appeal in Antwerp re-opened the trial and announced the verdict on 7th February 2008.
Regarding the long-term trial period, there have been several comments in the Belgian press. The headline in the newspaper Le Soir was “Time for the government to render an account”. The national TV channels RTBF and RTL for example described the events as “a period full of judicial mistakes and scandals”.
These scandals were also commented upon in the newspapers Le Soir, De Morgen and La Libre: “Federal prosecutor Johan Delmulle appointed a judge he trusted and formed a special court. The scandal came out, when the court of appeal exposed these and annulled the decisions by reason of the fact that the impartiality of the jurisdiction was violated”.

Another incident headlined was the plot to extradite the defendant Kimyongur (to Turkey) which was organised by the prosecutor Delmulle together with the Ministry of Justice.

It was finally proven by the annual report of the Committee R, which controls the relevant units of the security service, that they violated the law in the course of an urgent and secret internal state meeting.

Justice Minster Onkelinx, whose lies in this connection were proven, still keeps silent. It is obvious that the Belgian press has now directed its attention at Prosecutor Delmulle. In a news article in De Morgen a day before the trial (February 6), the prosecutor was targetted. The lawyers of the Flemish Bar Association expressed the view that the Federal Prosecutor doesn’t know any boundaries and he had gone out of control. There were also criticism of security measurements which whipped up fears of terrorism, brought to the highest level on the order of Prosecutor Delmulle.

The newspaper De Morgen wrote on 9th February: “During the hearings at the courts of Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp, Prosecutor Delmulle made the trial a personal matter.(…) during the trial at the court of appeal in Ghent at the end of the year, all newspapers headlined that Delmulle had received death threats from the DHKP-C.”

The newspaper also stated that these claims were used by Delmulle as a proof to the court that the DHKP-C defendants were dangerous terrorists.

The judges in Antwerp stated in their decision that these claims of Prosecutor Delmulle were baseless. Further, the judges stressed that the threats in question were nothing more than a statement sent to several addressees - first of all the Belgian gendarmerie - criticising the hardline position of the Belgian justice system. They said that these statements could not be described as a threat.

De Morgen wrote: “Like the question of a threat, the claims of an alleged terrorist education camp in Belgium and the smuggling of drugs makes visible the strategy which was used in the terror files of Delmulle in order to manipulate public opinion and to create a dramatic climate”.