Friday, December 16, 2005

The process against Kurdish TV seems to be a foul shot

By Ole Damkjær, Berlingske Tidende December 15, 2005

The Copenhagen police now asks the State Posecutor to evaluate the Turkish complaint against the Kurdish TV-station Roj-TV, which has been suspected of working in favourr of terrorism. This step seems to indicate that the case is falling apart, an espert of penal legislation estimates. The Copenhagen police now sends the politically sensitive matter Regarding the Kurdish TV-station Roj-TV upwards in the legal systemt the State Prosecutor. This will bring the case originating in the accusation of the Turkish government that the TV-station be working in support of terror, a step closer towards a conclusion.

"We pass on the case to the State Prosecutor becauase of its principal character and the public interest" Police Director Hanne Bech Hansen yesterday commented to Ritzau. The Police Director would not disclose the nature of her recommendation to the State Prosecutor Karsten Hjorth and Roj.TV categorically denies that it supports or recieves money from the Kurdish organisation PKK.

The expert of penal legislation Jørn Vestergaard from the University of Copenhagen estimates, that the case is disintegrating; that the police does not think that it can be proven that the TV-station has links to the PKK terror.

The most plausible conclusion is that the Copenhagen police estimates that further prosecution is no likely to lead to anybody being convicted. In other words that there are insufficient arguments for presuming that the proofs necessary for passing a sentence, can be presented. In that case further legal steps can be abandoned, but the State Prosecutor is the deciding authority", Jørn Vestergaard says to the Berlingske Tidende.

He bases his evaluation on the fact that the Police Director has made it known that she has forwarded the case to the State Prosecutor "due to its special character. If the Copenhagen police has recommended to the State Prosecutor that accusation be raised according to § 114B of the Penal Code for supporting the activity of a terror group for example by way of being the TV-station the paid mouthpiece of the terror group, it does not make much sense that the Police Director refers to the special character of the case because in that situation under all circumstances it should be passed further upward in the system, since in the end it is the competence of the Attorney General to take such legal action", Jørn Vestergaard explains.

Roj-TV has a headquarter in Copenhagen and transmits its programs to millions of Kurds in Europe and the Middle East. The Radio & TV-Commission has absolved the station from the accusation of making propaganda in favour of the PKK. This following a showing of two video tapes with Roj-TV program submitted to the Commission by the Turkish Embassy in Denmark which also gave in the accusation against Roj-TV to the police.

The matter has worsened relations between the governments of Denmark and Turkey. During a short and hasty visit to Copenhagen last month the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan abandonned a joint press conference with the Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen because there was a journalist from Roj-TV present among the representatives of the press.

A couple of days later the Berlingsker Tidende could publish that the American government in a confidential contact to the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked Denmark to outlaw Roj-TV which, according to the USA is a prolonged arm of the Kurdish organization PKK that has been blacklisted by both the USA and the EU as well.