Renas Lelikan supported at bail hearing

[By John Tully] The second bail hearing for Kurdish journalist Renas Lelikan was held in Sydney on October 6. NSW Supreme Court Judge Natalie Adams reserved her decision on his appeal until October 14. Lelikan, who is charged with membership of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has been remanded in custody since July 20.

Originally held in Sydney’s Silverwater Prison, he was transferred to isolation in the Goulburn “Supermax” jail following death threats against him by ISIS sympathisers. He would have been heartened by the presence of up to 100 well-wishers, mostly members of the Australian Kurdish community, who waited outside the court in glorious spring sunshine for the hearing to begin.

Joining them was Jamie Parker, the Greens MP for Balmain in the NSW Parliament. Parker said that “Renas is a brave journalist who risked his life to tell the truth about the Kurds’ fight against Islamic State terrorists. He should be applauded not jailed.” Parker intends to make a speech in support of Lelikan and the Kurdish struggle for justice in the NSW Parliament next week.

Lelikan was represented in court by Phillip Boulten SC, who presented a compelling case for bail and exposed the absurdity of government policy which lists the PKK as a terrorist group while admitting that it poses no threat to this country or its citizens.

We can be cautiously optimistic that Renas will soon be free on bail. In the meantime, supporters of the Kurdish cause have vowed to redouble their efforts to have the PKK removed from the terror list.