Turkish Leader Guilty Of Genocide Denial

TURKISH LEADER GUILTY OF GENOCIDE DENIAL

The News – International, Pakistan
March 10 2007

GENEVA: A Swiss court on Friday found a Turkish leader guilty of
denying the Armenian genocide, the first time Switzerland’s anti-racism
law has been applied to the World War I slaughter.

Turkish Workers’ Party leader Dogu Perincek received a suspended jail
sentence of 90 days or an equivalent fine from the Lausanne court as
well as a fine of 3,000 Swiss francs (1,900 euros).

Perincek had described the Armenian genocide under the Ottoman Empire
as an "international lie" at a Turkish rally in the Swiss city in 2005.

The Turkish government also fiercely rejects the genocide label and
the issue has sparked diplomatic tensions with Switzerland in the past.

Judge Pierre-Henri Winzap called Perincek an "arrogant provocateur"
in his ruling at the end of a week-long trial, adding that he had
"racist and nationalist motives".

Lausanne was also the site of the international conference and treaty
signed in 1923 which sealed the break-up of the Ottoman Empire and
the birth of the modern Turkish state.

Winzap said the Armenian genocide was "a proven historical fact
according to Swiss public opinion" and the fact that it was not listed
as a genocide by an international court did not rule out its reality.

He also ruled that Perincek made two speeches in May 2005 in the full
knowledge that he would be breaking the law.

Charges against Perincek were pressed under Swiss anti-racism law,
which includes an offence of denial of genocide or crimes against
humanity, following a complaint by a Swiss-Armenian group.

The verdict marks the first time that the 1995 law was applied to
the massacre of Armenians, said Doris Angst of Switzerland’s official
anti-racism watchdog.

"The commission welcomes the fact that the issue has been clarified
in a certain way with this ruling," the secretary of the Federal
Commission Against Racism told AFP.

Perincek said afterwards that he would appeal the verdict of
Lausanne’s magistrates court. "I will appeal this decision. I still
have confidence in Swiss justice. We will take it to the end to the
European Court of Human Rights if necessary," he told the Anatolian
news agency.

"This decision reflects in a concrete manner the Swiss judge’s hatred
for Turkey and the Turkish nation," he added.

In 2001, a court in the capital Bern acquitted 12 Turks facing
similar charges.

However, two years later the Swiss lower house of parliament formally
recognised the massacre of Armenians during World War I as genocide,
despite fierce protests from Turkey.

Perincek argued in court that he had not committed an offence with
his statements during the rally, insisting there had been no genocide
in 1915.

Swiss anti-racism law was not applicable in the Armenian case while
it was fully justified for the Holocaust in World War II, claimed
the Turkey-based militant.

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