Posted on October 14, 2016 by Editorial Staff in Kurdistan, Kurds Worldwide
Kurdish journalist Renas Lelikan accused of PKK in Australia. Photo: ABC News Australia
SYDNEY,— A Kurdish journalist charged with being a member of a terrorist organisation has been granted bail in the New South Wales Supreme Court.
Sydney-based 38-year-old Kurdish journalist Renas Lelikan was charged with being a member of the banned organisation, the Kurdish Workers Party PKK, after he returned to Australia from Iraqi Kurdistan in July.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, also known as the PKK, is fighting against the Islamic State [IS] terror group in northern Iraq.
The PKK took up arms in 1984 against the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to push for greater autonomy for the Kurdish minority who make up around 22.5 million of the country’s 78-million population. A large Kurdish community in Turkey and worldwide openly sympathise with PKK rebels.
Lelikan was being held in isolation at Goulburn’s supermax prison and his lawyer argued he had received threats from IS sympathisers.
Today, he was granted bail on strict conditions which included his supporters posting more than $1.5 million surety.
Kurdish community spokesman Brusk Aeiveri joined a group of supporters outside the court in Sydney.
“Renas is now going to get a chance to defend himself in a free environment,” he said.
In July, Lelikan’s lawyer argued his client posed no threat to the public because the PKK was not Australia’s enemy.
The PKK has been a proscribed terrorist organisation in Australia since August 2005.
Lelikan returned to Australia last year but was refused a passport on security grounds.
The court heard he “came back because of the dangers of IS”.
The court was also told Lelikan was only being allowed out of his cell for an hour a day.
Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, abc.net.au | Ekurd.net