Cengiz Kapmaz

KocaeliÖzgür Gündemnewspapercolumnistpro-KurdishVovember 22 2011Kapmaz, a columnist for the pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem (The Free Agenda) and a spokesman for the law firm that represents convicted Kurdistan Workers Party leader Abdullah Öcalan, was detained in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the Union of Communities in Kurdistan, or KCK. Held at Kandıra F Type Prison in Kocaeli, Kapmaz faced at least 10 years in prison upon conviction on charges of helping lead the KCK, a group that authorities say has worked for Öcalan’s “health, security, and freedom.” Kapmaz and several of Öcalan’s lawyers were accused of relaying orders from the PKK leader to the organization. They say Kapmaz participated in meetings and phone conversations with the lawyers, and used a special email account and protocols to relay Öcalan’s wishes. As evidence of criminality, the indictment also cited stories that Kapmaz wrote for the Fırat News Agency, which authorities say worked under the orders of the KCK, and his book about the PKK leader, titled Öcalan’s İmralı Days. Stories quoting Kapmaz as spokesman for the law firm were also cited as evidence. In a column sent to Özgür Gündem, Kapmaz said the government’s allegations of criminality were baseless. He said authorities “want me to pay a price” for being a journalist who writes about the Kurdish issue and the Öcalan case. In a twist, some media reports alleged that Kapmaz was actually an intelligence officer working undercover for the National Intelligence Agency. Those reports cited a document supposedly found on Kapmaz’s computer. Defense lawyer Özcan Kılıç dismissed such claims.relaying orders from the PKK leader to the organizationrelaying orders from the PKK leader to the organization