The court trial took place—on Friday, in Almelo, the Netherlands—against Ilham Askin, Chairman of the Turkish Azerbaijani Cultural Association in The Hague.
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.
On June 1, 2014, a Turkish demonstration took place in Almelo, and against the Armenian Genocide memorial that was erected on the yard of the Armenian Apostolic Church in this city. The Armenian community, namely the Federation of Armenian Organisations in the Netherlands (FAON) and the Dutch Armenian Committee for Justice and Democracy (Hay Tad), had filed a police report against the statements made during this demonstration.
The court session in Almelo lasted for two hours. It was attended by many Armenians and Turks as well as Dutch, Armenian, and Turkish media. During the session a video clip of the demonstration was played, and which shows Askin chanting, “Karabakh will be the grave of the Armenians” several times, and a few thousand people repeating the chant.
Askin, who was assisted by attorney Plasman, answered questions by the court and the public prosecutor. He stated, however, that he does not consider his statements to be an offence. He said his expressions relate to a specific region where, due to the current situation, war will possibly break out and blood will be shed. He added that he has not done anything wrong. And when asked, he declared that he does not regret his statements.
The prosecutor extensively explained the process of examination of this case, and motioned for 80 hours of community service and a suspended imprisonment of two weeks with probation of two years, since a strong signal needs to be given. The prosecution’s motion also takes into consideration the fact that Ilham Askin did not show any insight into this case and that there is a danger of recidivism.
The court judgment is expected on March 17.