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Flag flying Famagusta couple still waiting for court case to begin

8 December 2014

A young Turkish Cypriot couple arrested for flying three Republic of Cyprus flags outside their shop in Famagusta face further delays to their court case, ‘Cyprus Mail’ reports.

Koray Basdogrultmaci and Cinel Senem Huseyin, who describe themselves as Turkish speaking Cypriots, were once again in court last week for a case that has dragged on for over a year now.

In June 2013, following complaints by five settlers [as the newspaper describes them] that the couple were flying the Cyprus Republic flag, the couple were arrested after refusing to take them down.

However, there is no law which is related to flying the Cyprus flag, so instead they were charged with ‘non-recognition of the TRNC’ and ‘disturbing the peace’.

“I am a Cypriot,” states Koray, “my flag is the Republic of Cyprus’ flag, it is my shop. If I want to hang it up outside, then it is a basic human right that I do. It is okay for Turkish Speaking Cypriots to have the Republic’s passports, health cards and identity cards, so what is wrong with flying the flag that I believe represents me?”

For this reason they have been shuttling backwards and forwards to courts in the north for nearly a year and a half with postponement after postponement. The newspaper comments that it appears that the authorities do not know how to handle this case.

The couple’s case, which should not have even come to court, is not just a matter of ‘breaking the law’ as there does not appear to be a law broken. It is an issue  which is based in politics and yet not one politician either in the north or south has bothered to approach these two Cypriots to listen and help.

Last May, Turkish Cypriot newspaper ‘Afrika’ commented that there are many Turkish Cypriots who carry Republic of Cyprus passports and hospital cards, which implied that they too recognised the Republic of Cyprus and asked where was the support from these people?

Koray and Cinel are again forced to wait for their court case to begin because of the absence of a police officer who was called to make a statement in court. ‘Cyprus Mail’ describes this as suspicious. Meanwhile, the whole business has become a living nightmare for the couple. The case has now been postponed till January 12, 2015.

However, despite all the stress, the couple remain determined:

“We are waiting for the trial to begin and for justice to be served. If justice is not served in the courts in the north, then we are prepared to take our case to the Court of Human Rights,” declared Koray Basdogrultmaci.

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