Date: Wed, 16 Apr 97 11:32:27 CDT
From: Arm The Spirit <>
Subject: German Supreme Court Criminalizes Pro-Kurdish Publications

German Supreme Court Criminalizes Pro-Kurdish Publications

Arm the Spirit, 16 April 1997

On April 9, 1997, Germany's Supreme Court issued rulings on two appeals concerning publications which deal with the national liberation struggle in Kurdistan. The first was an appeal from the weekly magazine Biji, which had been criminalized by a court in Nurnberg for publishing communiques from the People's Liberation Army of Kurdistan (ARGK). Lawyers for Biji argued to the Supreme Court that since the November 1993 banning by Interior Minister Kanther of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and other Kurdish organizations in Germany did not mention the ARGK by name, publishing texts from the ARGK could not be considered a criminal offence. The German judges disagreed, however, saying that the ARGK is the heart of the PKK, that it is essential to the politics of the PKK, therefore by publishing ARGK texts, the magazine Biji was guilty of spreading propaganda on behalf of the PKK, a criminal offence in Germany.

In its second ruling, the German Supreme Court overturned an acquittal of another publication, the bi-weekly magazine Kurdistan-Rundbrief. The paper had been acquitted of any wrongdoing last fall, after the paper published a speech by PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan which was read at a peace demonstration in the summer of 1995 in Bonn. A lower court in Cologne had ruled that printing the speech was permissible as freedom of the press, and that Minister Kanther's position on the issue was entirely false. German federal authorities appealed this decision to the Supreme Court, however, and were successful. The high court has now reversed the acquittal, so Kurdistan-Rundbrief will soon be put on trial once again—for publishing a peace message.

Both of these decisions make it clear that Germany's unbending support for the colonial-fascist regime in Turkey has not changed, nor is it likely to change any time soon. The German authorities, like their counterparts in Ankara, will not tolerate any form of support for the national liberation struggle in Kurdistan. Even mere words are not permissible. Whereas apologists for Turkey's genocidal suppression of the Kurds are allowed to spew forth lies and disinformation about the Kurdish liberation movement as much as they like, and fascist organizations such as the MHP are allowed to organize freely in Germany, those who seek to defend the interests of the national liberation movement are suppressed at every turn.