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Cyprus

‘MP’ demands law change as journalist trial postponed again

sami ozuslu
Sami Ozuslu

A Turkish Cypriot MP demanded the north’s law on military crimes be changed after the trial of Turkish Cypriot journalist Ali Kismir was postponed again on Monday.

Kismir stands accused of “insulting” the Turkish Cypriot armed forces when he likened the headquarters of the ‘TRNC security forces command’ to a ‘brothel’ in 2020. His trial was initially scheduled to begin on October 6 last year, but proceedings will now start on April 17 at the earliest.

Speaking after the latest court delay, ‘MP’ Sami Ozuslu of opposition party the CTP said ‘parliament’ had improved the movement of a bill to change the law regarding military crimes to the ‘parliamentary’ legal committee on October 3, but no action has been taken since then.

“Despite the fact that it is now in the hands of [committee chairwoman and ruling party the UBP ‘MP’] Yasemin Ozturk, this law has not been put on the agenda yet,” he said.

“If you had no intention of discussing it, why did you rush it into the committee? This is hypocrisy and it serves no purpose other than to increase societal tension and intimidate journalists.”

He said he had “repeatedly” spoken to the north’s chief public prosecutor’s office and “told them to withdraw the case”, adding that he knew Kismir’s lawyer Cyprus Turkish Bar Association chairman Hasan Esendagli was doing the same.

“There have been many cases filed against the press so far. In all these cases, our courts sided with the freedom of the press,” he said.

He added that he invites “all non-governmental organisations to defend democracy” and called for an end to the “use of backwards articles in these laws to attempt to silence the press and our people”.

European Federation of Journalists vice president Mustafa Kuleli was also present outside the court on Monday and said “this case and similar cases do not suit Cyprus.”

I know Cypriots will not remain silent in the face of such pressures and will defend their freedom. All the journalists in Europe are with Ali Kismir and I have come to Cyprus to show this. We will stand in solidarity with Kismir until the end.

“We have full faith in Cyprus’ and the Cypriots’ struggle to live in a free and independent country and to be successful,” he said.

 

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