The specially authorized Adana Eighth Court for Serious Crimes sentenced speech and hearing impaired suspect Mehmet Tahir İlhan to eight years and four months in prison on the charge of making propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK,) while it also sentenced Uğur K., another suspect in the same trial, to 11 years and 11 months in prison, according to the Fırat news agency.
Mehmet Tahir İlhan, 37, and Uğur K. had been arrested pending trial for one year on the grounds they had attended a demonstration in the southern province of Mersin on April 2011.
İlhan, a porter at the local food market, issued his plea in court through the agency of a sign language translator and said a friend of his among the demonstrators on the street had called him in, after he had encountered them by chance.
The police intervened in the crowd right at this time, he said, adding that he had purchased the scarf that bore red, green, cream and orange colors, and which he was wearing at the time of the demonstration, from the food market.
İlhan also said he had had nothing to do with the stone and Molotov cocktail attacks and requested his release on the grounds there was no one else to look after his family. Uğur K. also rejected the claims against him.
The court delegation consequently sentenced İlhan to eight years and four months behind bars on charges of "committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization without being a member," "making propaganda for the PKK," "resisting security forces to prevent them from fulfilling their duties" and "contravening the Law of Assembly and Demonstration" in accordance with the 314th article of the Turkish Penal Code and the Seventh article of the Anti-Terror Law.
The court also sentenced Uğur K. to 11 years and 11 months in prison.
The prosecutor had requested a total of 25 years in prison for İlhan.
"Physically incapable of making propaganda," lawyer says
"He involuntarily mixed in with the demonstrators after he left the food market for home. I am in tatters with my children [now,]" said Necmiye İlhan, his wife and a mother of six.
Lawyer Tugay Bek also said the charges leveled against his hearing and speech impaired client were out of line with reason and logic.
"İlhan is hearing and speech impaired from birth, and he is illiterate. It is impossible for him to accompany the slogans. It is out of line with reason and logic for such accusations to be leveled against the suspect who has absolutely no physical capacity to make propaganda for the [PKK,]" Lawyer Bek said, adding they were going to appeal the verdict. (AS)