October 20th, 2010
A Copenhagen city court yesterday lifted a freeze on 10 bank accounts connected to Roj TV, a Copenhagen-based Kurdish TV network, the controversial station’s lawyer said. The freeze had been ordered on 2 September, shortly after the network was charged with supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by both the European Union and the United States.
The court lifted the freeze because police omitted to inform the network’s employees of their rights when the station was charged, defence lawyer Bjoern Elmquist told AFP. “It was a five-year investigation and the authorities’ legal procedures were not in order,” he said.
In August, Danish prosecutors charged Roj TV with terrorism following an in-depth investigation, launched in 2005, into the network’s programming. Prosecutor Lise-Lotte Nilas said in a statement at the time some of the network’s programmes had “a character of propaganda for the PKK.”
Mr Elmquist said that although the freeze on bank accounts was lifted, the network’s funds would remain out of reach until a higher court confirmed the decision, which was immediately appealed by a prosecutor. The network also still faces terrorism charges. The trial is not expected to begin until the second half of 2011, and could last for years, according to the lawyer.
Roj TV started broadcasting via satellite in 2004 towards 68 countries. Turkey has appealed to Denmark to shut it down, as has the United States. The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, took up arms for self-rule in the Kurdish-majority southeast of Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed 45,000 lives.
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