Raci Bilici worked as the president at the IHD (Human Rights Association) Diyarbakır branch between 2012 and 2018. From 2016 he was also Vice President to the IHD headquarters. Bilici is especially known for reporting and documenting human rights violations in Diyarbakır.
In 2017, Raci Bilici was charged with “membership of a terrorist organisation” and “making propaganda of a terrorist organisation”. The charges were related to his work as head of the IHD, in particular to his role in the so-called “peace process”. Bilici was taken into custody for seven days for this. He was released but banned from leaving the country. The trial for his case is ongoing.
Another investigation opened into his attendance to the Saturday Mothers meeting but this did not lead to a prosecution. As a result of the pressures he faced, including a defamatory campaign against him, Bilici had to resign from his position as a secondary school teacher.
The last hearing in the case against Bilici was on 21 November 2019, 09:20 a.m., at the Diyarbakır 5th Criminal Court. The prosecutor presented his opinion on the merits and asked Bilici to be punished up to 15 years in prison for “membership in an armed terrorist organization”. The lawyers demanded time to prepare their defense on the merits. The court adjourned the hearing by accepting the lawyers’ request for time to defend against the opinion.
The decision hearing of the case was held on 12 March 2020. While Bilici and his lawyers were present at the hearing, many lawyers and human rights defenders also followed.
The prosecution requested that he be sentenced to 7 years and a half to 15 years in prison for “being a member of the terrorist organization”.
Defending against the prosecutor’s opinion at the hearing, Bilici said, “I have been actively working as a human rights defender for many years. I was the executive director of İHD and İHD Diyarbakır Branch. I attended the ‘Migration Conference’ by the invitation of GÖÇ-DER. I was a moderator there. The speeches in the file belong to the year 2011, it is impossible to remember clearly. The speeches are also intermittent in the file and there is no coherence of meaning. We talked to the government by default to prevent the clashes. It is not possible for us to recommend and do actions such as live shields. I want my acquittal. ”
Court sentenced Bilici to 6 years and 3 months in prison on charges of “being a member of the terrorist organization”.
After the Court of Appeal’s decision to reverse the case, the case started to be heard again in Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court on 16 September 2021. At the hearing, the Public Prosecutor stated that Bilici was active as a member of the DTK, which is considered to be a kind of founding council of Kurdistan, that he was in the hierarchy of the organization, that he knowingly carried out actions with continuity, diversity and intensity in line with the organization’s purpose, and that he arguing that he committed the crime”. The court once again sentenced Bilici to 6 years and 3 months in prison for “being a member of a terrorist organization“.