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North ‘bar association’ condemns threats against Afrika judge

Demonstrators outside the Afrika offices

The ‘bar association’ in the north condemned threats made against a judge in the case of six people facing charges in connection with demonstrations outside the Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika.

According to media reports from the north on Friday, a team of lawyers and the head of the ‘bar association’ Unver Bedevi stood outside court saying justice should be allowed to run its course.

“We will not remain silent against these attacks on institutions and those who represent them,” he was quoted as saying by the Cyprus News Agency.

“Those who incite separation and violence in the country, instead of learning from the serious consequences of their actions and apologising to society, have the nerve to threaten the judge and attack lawyers.”

Bedevi and other lawyers also lambasted comments by Rebirth party ‘MP’ Erhan Arikli who said the court’s decision was a message to Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan and all the ‘fellow refugees’ referring to Turkish settlers.

The Cyprus News Agency said that in a post on his Facebook account, Arikli questioned why there was such an uproar over the six suspects and a demand for a harsh sentence against them while in the past, similar actions were punished with far lighter sentences.

Coming to his own conclusion, he said it was due to the fact that the six were ‘fellow refugees’ as opposed to similar cases where they were of Cypriot origin.

Harsh sentences would be a message towards Erdogan and Turkish people that live in the north and don’t know their limits, he added.

Arikli also went on to say that it was due to Erdogan’s reaction to Afrika’s headline which likened Turkey’s Afrin operation in Syria to Ankara’s occupation of the north.

Incensed by the article, Erdogan had called ‘on my brothers in north Cyprus to give the necessary response’.

His supporters had attacked Afrika’s offices and protested in front of the Turkish Cypriot ‘parliament’ on January 22.

Well known lawyer in the north, Baris Mamali, said statements such as those of Arikli were an attempt to exert pressure against justice.

Afrika’s frontpage on Friday said the only people commenting on this case were two ‘MPs’ in favour of violence, while the remaining 48 have kept quiet.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, the six have denied the charges but may change their decision during the next court session.

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