Twenty-six people, including Ekrem Baran, president of the Religious Scholars Association (DIAY-DER), were detained on 3 July as part of an operation carried out against members of the Democratic Islamic Congress (DİK) and DIAY-DER in Istanbul.
The 26 had their statements taken by the prosecution and were referred to court with demands for remand in custody for 11 of them, and release on bail for the remaining 15.
Nine Kurdish imams, Ali Fuat Hatip, Aydın Ayhan, Enver Karabey, Mehmet İnan, Mehmet Emin Aslan, Nezir Erdemci, Ekrem Baran, Hafik Tunç and Sefa Mehmetoğlu, who had already been detained for seven days, were remanded in prison.
Speaking outside the courthouse, the imams’ lawyer Vedat Ece said that one of the reasons for the arrests was giving sermons in Kurdish, MA reports.
Ece, who is a member of the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD), pointed out that the grounds for the arrest, detention and trial of the DİK and DIAY-DER members were activities they conducted as members of the association.
“They were accused and arrested for giving sermons in Kurdish and for leading prayers in Kurdish. The association they are affiliated with is a legal association. The donations collected and used by these associations for aid were indicated as elements of the offence.”
“They even put membership of these associations down as part of the offence.”
Ece also stated that his clients are elderly and most of them suffer from various infirmities.
“Although there was no likelihood of them absconding, this was given as grounds for remanding them in custody. If anything happens to any of them them those who have made this decision will be responsible.”
‘One-man regime one sect’
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Deputy Hüda Kaya was also present in front of the Istanbul courthouse. She said:
“There is an oft-repeated slogan in this one-man regime: one flag, one country, one people, one, one, one… Today with the decision of the court ‘one sect’ has been added to these ‘ones’.”
Many Kurdish people in Turkey belong to the Shafi’i school of Islam, and Kaya pointed out that Shafi’i Imams are being excluded from society with this attitude.
Kaya: “Here I want to ask: Are people of Shafi’i religion not heirs of the Prophet? Are the mosques where people of the Shafi’i religion pray not holy places of the Prophet?”