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Cablegate: Belgium: Highest Court Quashes Dhkp-C Verdict

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DE RUEHBS #1324 1091537
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191537Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5154
NFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA IMMEDIATE 0584
RUEIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 0150

UNCLAS BRUSSELS 001324

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PTER BE TU
SUBJECT: BELGIUM: HIGHEST COURT QUASHES DHKP-C VERDICT


1. Belgium's highest court, the Cour de Cassation, on April 19
quashed the November 7 ruling of the Ghent Appellate Court
imposing stiffer sentences on three convicted DHKP-C militants,
and confirming the sentences handed down by a lower court in
Bruges in February 2006 to four other DHKP-C militants. The seven
were convicted of belonging to a criminal and terrorist
organization, arms possession, and the use of forged documents.
The Court ordered the immediate release of four of the convicts
currently serving time. Belgium's government has not commented on
what steps it will or can take next.

2. Last year, the Ghent Appellate Court identified Dursun
Karatas, the secretary-general of the DHKP-C in Belgium, as
belonging to a criminal and terrorist organization and sentenced
him to an additional year in prison. Musa Asoglu was identified
as a leader of a terrorist organization and the Ghent appeals
judge imposed seven years imprisonment, instead of the six years
he had received from the court in Bruges. Bahar Kimyongur, the
DHKP-C spokesman for Belgium, was given five years.

3. The Ghent Appellate Court judge upheld the verdicts concerning
the other defendants, who received four years each. Fehriye
Erdal's sentence remained unchanged. Erdal managed to escape
before her sentence could be imposed and is still on the run.

4. In rendering its verdict, the Cour de Cassation argued that
the February 2006 appointment of a judge from another jurisdiction
was a serious procedural error. This mistake prejudiced the
court's ruling on the case.
FOX

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