Danish court frees 10 on terror funding charges

Ten Kurds who raised money for now-shuttered television channel Roj TV were found not guilty on charges of financing the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which despite currently being supported by Western forces in Syria is considered a terror organisation.

Danish court frees 10 on terror funding charges
Supporters gathered in central Copenhagen for the trial of ten Kurds accused of financing terror. Photo: Jens Astrup/Scanpix
A Danish court on Wednesday freed ten men charged with "terror funding" after raising up to 140 million kroner ($23.8 million) for Kurdish rebels.
The money was channelled to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a militant separatist group, through Roj TV, a Denmark-based Kurdish television channel that had its license revoked last year for "glorifying terrorism".
"The reason for the acquittal is that the prosecution has not established sufficient evidence that the defendants knew or should have known that a contribution to Roj TV was indirect support to the PKK," the Copenhagen District Court wrote in its ruling.
The money was raised from 2009 until 2012, when a Danish court first found Roj TV guilty of promoting terrorism.
Turkish security forces have waged a 30-year conflict with the PKK, whose battle for self-rule in the southeast of the country has left 40,000 dead.
The ruling risks further straining relations between Ankara and Copenhagen, which earlier this week slammed a decision by Turkish authorities to release from prison a man suspected of trying to murder an outspoken Danish Islam critic, Lars Hedegaard.

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Danish politicians demand freeze on weapons exports to Turkey

Denmark should follow the example of Nordic neighbours Norway and Sweden and halt weapons exports to Turkey, two left-wing parties in parliament have demanded.

Danish politicians demand freeze on weapons exports to Turkey
Pia Olsen Dyhr in parliament. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

The Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) and Socialist People’s Party (SF), part of a three-party group which props up the Social Democratic government, made the calls after Norway and Sweden both announced they would move to suspend all new arms exports to Turkey.

The decisions from Oslo and Stockholm came country after Turkey launched a military offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

“We must absolutely follow Norway and Sweden’s examples and ensure we immediately stop all weapon sales to Turkey from Denmark, and recommend to the EU next week a full European freeze on weapons exports,” Red Green Alliance foreign spokesperson Eva Flyvholm said.

SF’s leader Pia Olsen Dyhr echoed those sentiments.

“Denmark should, like other Nordic countries, stop all export of military equipment. We cannot justify selling weapons to a country which uses them against an ally in the fight against international terrorism,” Dyhr said in an email to Ritzau.

“We can’t stop Erdogan’s aggressive behaviour alone. So we need other European countries to join us,” she added.

The third government ally, the Social Liberals, have taken a more cautious position, with foreign policy spokesperson Martin Lidegaard advocating options for a joint EU response be drafted.

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