Up to 25 years imprisonment sought for Leyla Güven

In the trial against Kurdish politician Leyla Güven, the public prosecutor’s office has requested a sentence of up to 25 years in prison for “founding and directing a terrorist organization”, although the main prosecution witness withdrew her statement.

The trial against the Kurdish politician Leyla Güven has continued in Amed (Diyarbakir) on Wednesday. In the trial before the 9th Heavy Penal Court of Diyarbakır, 18 criminal cases have been combined. The co-chair of the civil society organization Democratic Society Congress (DTK) is accused of “founding and directing a terrorist organization”. Other charges include membership, propaganda and incitement of the people to illegal rallies and demonstrations in the period from 2016 to 2018. The former HDP member of parliament is alleged to have participated “unarmed in illegal demonstrations” and to have failed to comply with the call to dissolve the assembly, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

Leyla Güven did not attend the hearing and was represented by her lawyers. The public prosecutor said in his plea that the Democratic Society Congress was the third of four pillars in Abdullah Ocalan’s paradigm. According to the public prosecutor’s office, the DTK is the legislative body of the Turkey Council of the KCK and is in contact with the PKK/KCK in order to establish Kurdish national unity. Leyla Güven is said to have publicly expressed herself as DTK chairperson in accordance with the goals of the PKK/KCK.

The prosecutor justified the prison sentence request against Leyla Güven with the statements of Evindar Oruç, the main witness for the prosecution, who had, however, withdrawn her statement at the last hearing and made it clear that she did not know Leyla Güven personally, had never met her and did not know whether she had any connection to the PKK. During the police interrogation, she was told that the prosecutor could help her. In return, she was supposed to testify against Leyla Güven. “Thereupon I signed a statement protocol. The woman named Leyla who brought me to Istanbul was definitely not Leyla Güven,” said Evindar Oruç at her witness hearing in late October.

The public prosecutor’s office demanded a prison sentence of between nine and a half and twenty-five years in prison. The hearing was adjourned until December 21, at which time the defense will make its plea.