Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Chaos at Turkish journalists' trial

The trial of five Turkish journalists charged with insulting the country's courts was adjourned yesterday after a tumultuous session in which nationalist lawyers shouted at the judge and tussled with police in the Istanbul courtroom. The defence had called for the removal of the lawyers, saying they were not officially part of the prosecution but had been acting as disruptive participants in the trial. In turn, the nationalist lawyers challenged the presence of international observers in the court, calling it a foreign invasion. They also accused the judge of being one-sided and asked for his removal.

The journalists were standing trial for criticising a court's decision to shut down a conference about the mass killings of Armenians by Turks during the Ottoman Empire. The prosecutors said they were attempting to influence the outcome of a trial and insulted the court system. EU officials have said the case is a test of Turkey's readiness for EU membership. The trial was adjourned until April 11.

Source: European Journalist Centre Media News and Media Guardian

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