The ver­dict fell on March 9 2020: Diyarbakır’s Co-May­or Selçuk Mızrak­lı was sen­tenced to 9 years and 4 months in jail for “belong­ing to a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion”.

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Selçuk Mızrak­lı is a med­ical doc­tor and a politi­cian. Born in 1963 in Siverek, Urfa in South­east­ern Turkey, he has held var­i­ous posi­tions at the Diyarbakır Med­ical Cham­ber, includ­ing that of Pres­i­dent. He is also the found­ing Pres­i­dent and a mem­ber of the board of admin­is­tra­tion of the Mesopotamia Foun­da­tion. He was a deputy of the Peo­ples’ Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (HDP) from June 2018 to March 2019. As the HDP’s can­di­date dur­ing the local elec­tions on March 31 2019, he was elect­ed Co-May­or of the Diyarbakır Metrop­o­lis with 63% of the votes.

Selçuk Mızrak­lı was removed from office by the Min­istry of the Inte­ri­or on August 19 2019, because of an inquest “linked to ter­ror­ism” that led to the tri­al against him. He was then placed in cus­tody on Octo­ber 21. He is cur­rent­ly detained in the prison of Bünyan, in the provice of Kay­seri, thus deport­ed 563 km away from his hometown.

Fol­low­ing his removal from office, he declared to Bianet:

Demo­c­ra­t­ic will was sum­mar­i­ly exe­cut­ed dur­ing a mid­night oper­a­tion. The last remain­ing crumbs of democ­ra­cy in Turkey were destroyed with this deci­sion. This deci­sion is an indi­ca­tion that the upcom­ing peri­od will be more painful yet. There are no indi­vid­ual vic­tims. Democ­ra­cy in Turkey is the vic­tim, along with all of its electorate.

Results of the March 31 elec­tions were total­ly dis­re­gard­ed. As for the region, the will of mil­lions of peo­ple was ignored. The Con­sti­tu­tion was destroyed. The sit­u­a­tion must not be seen in terms of three towns only. We must look at it glob­al­ly. Cur­rent­ly, all the peo­ples in Turkey are sub­ject­ed to a test­ing of democ­ra­cy and morality.

We say that the one who remains silent in the face of injus­tice is a mute dev­il. No one should keep qui­et when con­front­ed with this injus­tice. We are right and we must ampli­fy this jus­ti­fied cry.

There are many police­men in our munic­i­pal build­ing at the moment. I think they are pro­ceed­ing to a raid. I don’t know what they are look­ing for. But I know they will find noth­ing. If they want to find cor­rup­tion, they should have done so in the days of the State-appoint­ed administrator.”

In fact, Selçuk Mızrak­lı was only rex­press­ing, once again, the same obser­va­tions as those of the oth­er Co-May­ors removed from office and under­lined, declared, hollered over and over again…

As a reminder, last Jan­u­ary 7th, in an arti­cle about the depor­ta­tion of pris­on­ers, we announced that thus far, 32 Co-May­ors had been removed from office and replaced by State-appoint­ed admin­is­tra­tors. And in order to illus­trate these out­landish depor­ta­tions, we pro­vid­ed the exam­ple of 24 Co-May­ors of Kur­dish towns. Selçuk Mızrak­lı is one of those pris­on­ers affect­ed by the depor­ta­tions known as “forced trans­fers”, a method of iso­lat­ing with­out the need for an iso­la­tion cell, a dou­ble sen­tence, a form of torture…

On March 9, Selçuk Mızrak­lı could not attend the final hear­ing and he was rep­re­sent­ed by his lawyers.

The Pros­e­cu­tor reit­er­at­ed his accu­sa­tions and request­ed a prison sen­tence of a min­i­mum of 7 years and 6 months to 15 years for “belong­ing to a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion”. The court opt­ed for a prison sen­tence of 9 years and 4 months for Selçuk Mızrak­lı. A sen­tence, we point out, “in the upper limits”.

His lawyers under­lined the sim­i­lar­i­ty in a num­ber of the cas­es brought against the Co-May­ors. They declared that the deci­sion was not found­ed in law since all the alle­ga­tions con­tained as evi­dence in the file were obtained out­side legal means. Indeed, the Pres­i­dent of the Diyarbakır Bar spec­i­fied for his part that “The ver­dict ren­dered is absolute­ly not a court ver­dict. We can­not imag­ine that it could con­sti­tute a judi­cia­ry deci­sion. We can­not speak of legal­ly obtained evi­dence. As a mat­ter of fact, on a num­ber of occa­sions we have assert­ed before the court that the evi­dence was not obtained legal­ly. The evi­dence con­sists of ele­ments pro­duced by the police, attempts at jus­ti­fy­ing the extor­sion of the City Hall of the Metrop­o­lis of Diyarbakır.”

Selçuk Mızrak­lı’s lawyers will appeal to the Court of Cas­sa­tion, then to the Euro­pean Tri­bunal for Human Rights.

Mean­while, in Turkey, in Europe, all over the world, every­one knows per­fect­ly well that these removals from office, these revo­ca­tions, pros­e­cu­tions, con­vic­tions, be they of polit­i­cal men and women or of intel­lec­tu­als have noth­ing to do with any “crime” what­so­ev­er, and that the charges are arbi­trary and absurd.

In fact, in order to find real evi­dence, the police­men and pros­e­cu­tors go to so much trou­ble that, in the end, in order to cre­ate evi­dence them­selves, they become extreme­ly inventive…

And indeed, the tor­tur­er can be extreme­ly creative.


Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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