2012 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee publisher Ragıp Zarakolu spent close to 6 months in a F-type high security prison between 1 Nov. 2011 and 10 April 2012. The prosecutor has demanded between 7.5 and 15 years in prison for Ragıp. This IPA Freedom to Publish Committee blog aims at shedding light on his case and urges the Turkish authorities to drop all charges against him.
Here are only four examples of the judicial harrassment, which Ragıp Zarakolu has been the target of in the last 30 years. With links to English translations of the accusation acts and/or Ragıp’s writings or publications, you will be in a position to judge for your yourself.
In 2003, for his publication of The 12th September Regime under Trial by G. Caglar (See cover, left), Ragıp Zarakolu was prosecuted before an Istanbul State Security Court under (then) Article 312 of the Turkish Penal Code ( “incitement to hatred on the basis of class, religion or race”). He was also accused of making separatist propaganda by means of publishing under anti-terror legislation. This book was about the human rights violations led by the military regime in Turkey ushered in by the 1980 coup.
In December 2003, the State Security Court, following a months-long procedure, acquitted Ragıp Zarakolu. As soon as he was acquitted, the same Court decided to press new charges against him for an article he had written in March 2003 in a Kurdish daily and which was entitled Sana Ne? (What do you care?) about Turkish foreign policy in Northern Iraq.
As recently as March 2011, Ragıp Zarakolu was condemned by an Istanbul court to paying a TL 16,660 (€ 8,330) fine for publishing N. Mehmet Güler’s KCK File / Global State and Kurds without State. N. Mehmet Güler was also condemned to a suspended 15-month prison sentence. Both Zarakolu and Güler were accused under article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law of “spreading propaganda” for an illegal organization, the banned Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). The book, which was banned immediately after its release at the Diyarbakir Book Fair in May 2010, remains banned.
Before 2003, and between 2003 and 2011, cases have been ongoing (e.g.: Accusation Act in the Sakayan case under Article 301 TPC in 2005-2007) until the final blow: Ragıp’s arrest on 28 October 2011, and his pre-trial detention ever since.