Turkey: 5-year prison sentence requested for 75-year-old woman who defended her land

Featured image: Hatice Kocalar. Source: Yeni Demokrasi

75-year-old Hatice Kocalar was brought to trial, charged with beating officials of a mining company. On the 5th of March she appeared in court, where the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 5 years. The court postponed the case until the 28th of May.

The mining company wanted to make a mine in the field of Kocalar, in Avdan Village in the Tavas district of Denizli Province, western Turkey. The peasants said they don’t want coal, they want to live and produce, and filed a complaint against the decision to allow the mine. The court decided to halt the construction of the mine, but despite this the company continued their activity.

Hatice Kocalar does not want any mines in her village or on her land, and together with her husband and children she is among of the peasants that are struggling against the mine. She explains the following regarding the charges against her:

“Two trucks arrived. The excavator arrived. They wanted to dig the field, I objected. I told them that the company’s officials should come. Two engineers came. There were five people in total. I was alone. How do I hit 5 people? I didn’t hit him, there was an argument between us. I didn’t have a stick in my hand. I do not accept the allegations against me. I want my acquittal.”

Rejecting the criminalization of the struggle for land Kocalar said: “I defended my land. I have no eyes on anyone’s land. Is it a crime to defend my own land? Let everyone hear what I say, I have no fear of anyone. Let the company come too, I have no fear”.

Hatice Kocalar outside of the court. Source: Yeni Demokrasi
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