Bahar Kimyongür is a Belgian citizen who has repeatedly denounced human rights violations in Turkey. Unless voicing criticism is considered a crime, Bahar Kimyongür has never broken any law. Nevertheless, Turkey has long been trying to criminalize his peaceful protests and demands his extradition.
For more than a decade, Bahar Kimyongür has been the victim of relentless legal harassment. Several years ago in Belgium, after four trials, he was acquitted of all charges brought against him. This was followed by the Netherlands’ refusal to execute the extradition warrant issued by Turkey and the Dutch court’s decision to declare him completely innocent.
Despite being found innocent in two European Union countries, Bahar Kimyongür has this year been arrested and jailed first in Spain and currently in Italy, on the basis of the same Turkish extradition warrant! This means that he is still under threat of extradition to Turkey.
Such a situation is intolerable. We strongly oppose Bahar Kimyongür’s extradition and urgently demand that charges against him be dropped. His life is under threat and freedom of speech is in jeopardy.

bahar

THE KIMYONGÜR AFFAIR

On November 21, 2013, on the basis of an extradition warrant issued by Turkey, Bahar Kimyongür was arrested in Italy, where he was supposed to take part in an international conference on Syria. After being incarcerated for thirteen days, this Belgian citizen has since been kept under house arrest somewhere in Tuscany, while Italian justice decides his fate…

On June 17, 2013, on the basis of the same Turkish warrant, Mr Kimyongür had already been arrested in Spain while on vacation with his family, then freed on bail while awaiting a judicial ruling. In either Spain or in Italy, the threat of extradition hangs over Mr Kimyongür, a Belgian citizen.

In response to his arrest in Spain, a hundred representatives of Belgian civil society cosigned a White Paper, refuting one by one the arguments advanced by officials in Ankara. A text that clarifies what is at stake in this ongoing affair.

AT THE MERCY OF THE TURKISH STATE…? (The 27th August 2013 carte blanche)

The Belgian citizen Bahar Kimyongür is –once again– the object of an extradition warrant issued by Turkey. This warrant for international capture was disclosed to him in Spain (where he was spending a few days on holiday). Arrested by police in Cordoba last June 17, the Audiencia Nacional nevertheless freed our compatriot –in return for 10,000 euros bail money– and allowed him to return to Belgium. He must henceforth remain at the disposal of Spanish judicial authorites until they rule on his fate in the coming weeks. This is an utterly scandalous situation : seven years earlier, the incriminations set forth by the Turkish State to justify extradition had all been declared null and void. In fact, in April 2006, on the same grounds, the first such warrant (issued by Ankara) had already led to Kimyongür’s arrest – on that occasion, in the Netherlands.

After 68 days in prison, Dutch courts finally judged the charges advanced against B. Kimyongür by the Turkish Security Court to be groundless, defamatory and unconstitutional. As a result, the judges in The Hague freed him of all charges. What then are the very «grave» accusations revived today against Kimyongür? «Of being the leader of a terrorist organization, the DHKP-C»; «of having threatened and attacked Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, during his hearing before the European Parliament»; «of having taken part in a hunger strike, in solidarity with a DHKP prisoner»…

Turkish authorities thus accuse Bahar Kimyongür of being «a leader of the DHKP-C» (a movement on the «terrorist» list in the United States and the European Union)… But in Belgium, two courts have ruled –twice– against this accusation (the Antwerp Court of Appeals [February 7, 2008], followed by the Brussels Court of Appeals [in a final ruling issued December 23, 2009]). The second charge against him? Kimyongür is accused of having «threatened and attacked the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ismail Cem»… But a documentary film shot on November 28, 2000, in the main auditorium of the European Parliament, proves the total dishonesty of these assertions. Indeed, Bahar Kimyongür briefly interrupted the Turkish Minister –who was in the midst of denying any genocide against the Armenian people. Kimyongür tossed several dozen tracts in the direction of the Members of Parliament, while exclaiming his solidarity with hundreds of political prisoners who, in Turkey, had been pursuing a hunger strike for weeks to denounce the atrocious conditions of their incarceration. That is what he did. But these gestures of revolt do not constitute in any manner «threats» or «attacks» against the person of the Foreign Minister.

That, moreover, is what was formally confirmed on July 4, 2006, by the Extradition Chamber in The Hague. As for the central accusation, set forth in the international warrant, Judge Van Rossum specified that what happened at the European Parliament was a «demonstration» (in the sense of a «protest within the law»), by no means a threat or aggression against the Turkish Minister. In their rulings, the Dutch judges took the trouble of emphasizing: no, «challenging a Minister on the conditions of detention in prisons is not a guilty act». Neither was the final accusation, that of «showing his solidarity with a prisoner on hunger strike» –as it happens Ilhan Yelkovan who had begun a death fast to protest against being kept in isolation in Hamburg prison. Thanks to the solidarity of thousands of people across Europe, Yelkovan finally obtained satisfaction after ten weeks of privation. What can be said against such solidarity from the viewpoint of criminal law ? Absolutely nothing

It is clear: despite the judgment by courts in the Netherlands and in Belgium, the Turkish authorities have decided to ignore all legal decisions, whatever they may be. With the result of violating the constitutional rights which every State under the rule of law accords its citizens.

In this pathological context (which proves a sort of continuity between, yesterday, the despotism of the army and today, the repression carried out by the AKP against democratic protests in Istanbul, Izmir or Antakya), we are in solidarity with all those who refuse to accept this relentless tyranny.

Kimyongür –which is his right, and proves his courage– has never stopped denouncing the exactions which have struck and continue to cause tragic upheavals in Turkish society: assassination of opposition figures, incarceration of courageous trade unionists, imprisonment of honest lawyers and journalists. In reality, it is this well-argued and all too clear denunciation that the Ankara prosecutors –by way of arresting a Belgian citizen– want to silence forever. This is something we cannot accept. For all these reasons, we, call on the authorities of our country. They should do everything to prevent the extradition of Bahar Kimyongür to «Ottoman» prisons where anyone can imagine what awaits him: the worst.

The carte blanche signers :

Jacques Aghion (Professeur émérite de l’Université de Liège), Tomas Armas (Enseignant), Laurent Arnauts (Avocat), Danielle Bajomée (Professeure à l’Université de Liège), Selma Benkhalifa (Avocate), Jean-Louis Berwart (Avocat), Jan Blommaert (Professeur à l’Université de Tilburg, Pays-Bas), Thierry Bodson (Secrétaire général de la FGTB wallonne), Sarah Bracke (Sociologue à la Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), Didier Brissa (Formateur au «Centre d’Education Populaire André Genot»), Jean Bricmont (Professeur à l’Université Catholique de Louvain), Jean-Marie Chauvier (Ecrivain), Marie-France Collard (Réalisatrice), Michel Collon (Ecrivain, journaliste), Jean Cornil (Ancien parlementaire PS), Carlos Crespo (Président de la «Coordination Nationale d’Action pour la Paix et la Démocratie»), Jacques Debatty (Vice-Président du «Mouvement Ouvrier Chrétien»-Bruxelles), An de Bisschop (Directrice de l’association flamande «Demos»), Patrick Deboosere (Professeur à la Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Ludo De Brabander (Porte-parole de l’association «VREDE»), Lieven De Cauter (Philosophe à la Katholieke Universiteit Leuven / RITS), Vincent Decroly (Ancien député indépendant), Jean-Claude Defossé (Député ECOLO), Séverine de Laveleye (Secrétaire générale de l’association «Quinoa»), Herman De Ley (Professeur à l’Université de Gand), Céline Delforge (Députée ECOLO), Chloé Deligne (Chercheuse FNRS / Université Libre de Bruxelles), Jean-Marie Dermagne (Avocat / Ancien Bâtonnier), Serge Deruette (Professeur à l’Université de Mons), Gérard de Sélys (Ecrivain), Alexis Deswaef (Président de la «Ligue des droits de l’Homme»), Jean-Philippe de Wind (Avocat), Koen Dille (Membre du «Masereelfonds»), Anne Dister (Professeure aux Facultés Saint-Louis), Josy Dubié (Sénateur honoraire ECOLO), Anne Dufresne (Sociologue, FNRS-FRS), Xavier Dumay (Professeur à l’Université de Liège), Albert Dupage (Professeur émérite de l’Université de Liège), Vincent Dupriez (Directeur du GIRSEF de l’Université Catholique de Louvain), Jean-Claude Englebert (Echevin Ecolo de Forest), Stephan Galon (Organisateur de concerts), José Garcia (Syndicaliste pour le Droit au logement), Michel Genet (Directeur de «Greenpeace-Belgique»), Geoffrey Geuens (professeur à l’Université de Liège), Corinne Gobin (Professeure à l’Université Libre de Bruxelles), Eric Goeman (Président de «Democratie 2000» et d’«Attac Vlaanderen»), Paul Goossens (Journaliste), José Gotovitch (Professeur honoraire de l’Université Libre de Bruxelles), Philippe Hambye (Professeur à l’Université Catholique de Louvain), Raoul Hedebouw (Porte-parole du Parti du Travail de Belgique), Benoit Hellings (Sénateur ECOLO), Anne Herscovici (Députée ECOLO), Jean-Luc Hornick (Professeur à l’Université de Liège), Patric Jean (Cinéaste), Jean-Jacques Jespers (Journaliste / Professeur à l’Université Libre de Bruxelles), Jean-Pierre Kerckhofs (Président de «l’Appel Pour une Ecole Démocratique»), Jean-Marie Klinkenberg (Professeur émérite de l’Université de Liège / Membre de «l’Académie royale de Belgique»), Fouad Lahssaini (Député Ecolo), Hughes Le Paige (Journaliste / Réalisateur), Vincent Letellier (Avocat), Roland Libois (Professeur à l’Université de Liège), Arnaud Lismond (Président du «Collectif Solidarité contre les Exclusions»), Ico Maly (Coordinateur de l’association «Kif Kif»-Anvers), Zoé Maus (Présidente de l’association «Quinoa»), Francine Mestrum (membre de «Global Social Justice»), Jacky Morael (Sénateur ECOLO / Ministre d’Etat), Anne Morelli (Professeure à l’Université Libre de Bruxelles), Caroline Nieberding (Professeure à l’Université de Liège), Dogan Özgüden (Rédacteur en chef d’«Info-Türk»), Christine Pagnoulle (Chargée de cours à l’Université de Liège), Jorge Palma (Chargé de recherches à l’Université de Liège), Paul Pataer (Ancien sénateur SPa / Vice-Président de «la Ligue flamande des droits de l’Homme»), Julien Perrez (professeur à l’Université de Liège), Daniel Piron (Secrétaire régional de la FGTB-Charleroi), Min Reuchamps (Professeur à l’Université Catholique de Louvain), Pierre Robert (Président du «Syndicat des Avocats pour la Démocratie»), Nadine Rosa Rosso (Enseignante), Laurence Rosier (Professeure à l’Université Libre de Bruxelles), Jean-Louis Siroux (Professeur à l’Université Catholique de Louvain), Isabelle Stengers (Enseignante en philosophie des sciences à l’Université Libre de Bruxelles), Simone Susskind (Présidente d’«Actions in the Mediterranean»), Erik Swyngedouw (Professeur à l’Université de Manchester), Olivier Taymans (Journaliste), Eric Therer (Avocat), Titom (Dessinateur), Barbara Trachte (Députée régionale et communautaire ECOLO), Frédéric Ureel (Président des «Avocats Européens Démocrates»), Nicolas Vandenhemel (Co-Président de la «Coordination Nationale d’Action pour la Paix et la Démocratie»), Yannick Vanderborght (Professeur aux Facultés Saint-Louis et à l’Université Catholique de Louvain), Johan Van Hoorde (Membre du groupe «Vooruit»), Felipe Van Keirsbilck (Secrétaire général de la CNE), Philippe Van Muylder (Secrétaire général de la FGTB-Bruxelles), Philippe Van Parijs (Professeur à l’Université Catholique de Louvain et à l’Université d’Oxford), Dan Van Raemdonck (Secrétaire général de la «Fédération Internationale des Ligues des droits de l’Homme»), Marie Verhoeven (Professeure à l’Université Catholique de Louvain), Luk Vervaet (Enseignant dans les prisons), Bernard Wesphael (Député du «Mouvement de gauche» au Parlement wallon), Dominique Willaert (Coordinateur de l’association gantoise «Victoria Deluxe»), Martin Willems (Secrétaire permanent à la CNE), Karim Zahidi (Professeur à l’Université d’Anvers), Marc Zune (Professeur à l’Université Catholique de Louvain).

 

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http://www.freebahar.com/indexEN.php

 

 

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