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Kurdish Couple Accused of Terrorist Financing Appeal for Acquittal

MTI-Hungary Today 2019.05.22.

A Kurdish man and woman convicted of terrorist financing by a Szeged court have appealed against the first-instance ruling. The couple are accused of serving the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), in northern Iraq, which is classified as a terrorist organisation by the European Union.

The court in southern Hungary on Thursday sentenced the two Kurdish nationals to two years in prison.

It also ruled that the defendants should be expelled from Hungary after serving their term for a period of eight years. Taking into account their time on remand, they face being expelled imminently.

The man had worked for PKK managing logistics tasks as a volunteer from 2009. The woman joined PKK in 2010 aged 15 and met her future husband in 2014 in Syria. Despite threats from the organisation, they fled and got married in Iraq the following year.

The couple arrived at the Hungarian border in December 2017, aided by human smugglers. They applied for asylum but they were detained in March last year.

In its justification to the ruling, the court cited the defendants’ young age, the nature of their activities in the PKK and that they had been threatened retaliation by that organisation, and set their terms “well below” the minimum five years stipulated by law. The court discontinued their detention because they had already served the minimum sentence.

Erika Prágai Juhász, the court’s spokeswoman, said the Iranian-born Kurdish woman and her husband, together with their lawyers, were appealing for acquittals.