Turkey: Kurd accused with terror for being caught with a lemon17/06/2012 19:20
ERBIL, June 17 (Aknews) – A Turkish prosecutor in Turkey is demanding a 25 year prison term against a Kurdish man on terror charges after he was caught by police with a lemon in his possession.
The possession of a the half a lemon has been cited as evidence against the illiterate and deaf man, Mehmet Tahir Ilhan, in the terror case because lemon can ease the effects of tear gas, the BBC has reported.
The man has been charged with propagating for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebel group - that has been fighting Turkey for 30 years for the independence or self-rule of the Kurds in the country – as well as taking part in an illegal organization. Ilhan has denied the charges.
Ilhan, a bazaar porter in the city of Mersin, told the court using sign language that he was caught up in a violent pro-Kurdish demo. Under Turkey's anti-terrorism law any show of support or sympathy with the PKK is an offense.
Over the past two years, hundreds of Kurdish activists, journalists, lawyers and politicians have been detained on terror charges.
The use of Turkey's anti-terrorism laws has been criticized by the Council of Europe as having a "chilling effect" on freedom of speech.
The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Teyyip Erdogan promised recently that Kurdish language be taught in schools as an elective class in a step to encourage Kurdish moderates while at the same time isolating the more hard-line PKK members.