The Hague, 3 March 2017 – In Almelo the lawsuit took place against Mr. Ilham Askin, chairman of the Turkish Azerbaijani Cultural Association in the Hague. Mr. Askin is prosecuted for having chanted “Karabakh will be the grave of the Armenians” during a Turkish rally in Almelo. With this statement, according to the prosecutor, he has incited violence against and has insulted a group of people because of their Armenian origin.
As previously announced, on 1 June 2014 a Turkish demonstration took place in Almelo, against the Genocide memorial erected on the churchyard of the Armenian Apostolic Church in that city. The Armenian community, namely the Federation of Armenian Organisations in the Netherlands (FAON) and Dutch Armenian Committee for Justice and Democracy (Hay Tad) had filed a police report against the statements made during that demonstration.
The court session in Almelo lasted for two hours. The session was attended by many Armenians and Turks, as well as Dutch, Armenian and Turkish media. During the session the judge a video clip of the demonstration was played, which shows Mr. Askin chanting the words “Karabakh will be the grave of the Armenians” several times, and a crowd of a few thousand people is repeating the slogan.
Mr. Askin, who was assisted by lawyer Plasman, answered questions by the judge and the public prosecutor. He stated that he doesnot consider his statements an offence. He said that his expressions relate to a specific region, where due to the current situation war will possibly break out and blood will be shed. He beliefs, that he has not done something wrong. On being asked, he declared that he doesn't regret his statements.
The Prosecutor extensively explained the process of examination of the case and demanded 80 hours of community service and a suspended imprisonment of 2 weeks with a probation of 2 years, because it is necessary to give a strong signal. It takes also into consideration that Mr. Askin did not show any insight in the case and that there is a danger of recidivism.
The court’s judgement is expected on 17 March 2017.
Federation of Armenian Organisations in the Netherlands • FAON