INTRODUCTION: The trial of 450 Kurdish people alleged to have attempted to establish an independent Marxist state in Eastern Turkey opened on violence from both prosecution and defendants.
SCU ZOOM OUT TO SV Relatives of suspected terrorists waiting for admission to courtroom. (2 SHOTS)
SV INTERIOR Courtroom showing judiciary personnel. SV INTERIOR courtroom showing detainees and guards.
GV PAN Suspected terrorist speaking and limping back to seat.
GV Detainees, PAN TO judiciary personnel.
SV Detainee speaking to court.
SV PAN Detainee who claimed he was tortured is dragged out of building by military personnel.
SV Detainee limping back to seat after testifying.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The trial of 450 Kurdish people alleged to have attempted to establish an independent Marxist state in Eastern Turkey opened on violence from both prosecution and defendants.
SYNOPSIS: About 100 relatives and friends of the defendants watched the first day of the trial, which opened in a specially-built courtroom in Dyarbakir regional martial law headquarters. Security was heavy. Armed troops surrounded the courtroom, and others guarded the stockade where the accused were being held.
The Military Prosecutor has demanded the death sentence for 97 of the accused, who are alleged to have instituted a reign of threats, extortion and murder in villages populated by Kurds. Some defendants had difficulty walking. They said they had been tortured in custody. About a quarter of those charged - mostly illiterate peasants and labourers - refused to recognise the court in protest at the conditions in which they said they were being held.
About 30 of the accused refused to identify themselves and were removed from the courtroom. The prosecution said automatic weapons, explosives and rocket launchers were seized from many of the accused, who were allegedly trained in Palestinian camps. The accused are said to belong to the Apoist group, called after the nickname given to its alleged leader, Abdullah Ocalan, who is reported to have fled the country. Its official name is the Kurdish Labour Party, and it's one of several movements claiming to be fighting for the rights of up to 8,000,000 Kurds.
Two defendants who said they had been tortured collapsed in the courtroom and were taken out by security men. The prosecution holds the Apoists responsible for 243 deaths and claims they set up "People's Courts" which had offenders tortured and mutilated before they were executed.