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European Court to Rule on Ocalan

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Turkey's trial of Kurdish terrorist leader Abdullah Ocalan was not fair enough, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has ruled.

Source:Ocalan Trial

 Although the ruling is not binding, Turkey has said it will do whatever is necessary to fulfill the law.

PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan was convicted of treason in 1999. He was blamed for 30,000 deaths in a 15-year terrorist campaign against Turkey. It is argued that a retrial in Turkey could stir tensions as it makes its bid for EU membership.

"The applicant was not tried by an independent and impartial tribunal," the court said in a statement. The judges ruled that the presence of a military judge on the panel meant that the Turkish court's judgment could not have been fair.

Ocalan is currently serving a life sentence as the sole inmate of a prison on an island.
Turkey scrapped the death penalty in 2002 to come into line with European Union requirements. The country is at present trying to meet the EU's entry conditions on human rights.

"The Turkish Republic is a state based on the rule of law and will undertake the procedure that the law requires," said Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party, quoted by AFP.

In an interview on state television, a government spokesperson said that the Turkish people should not fear Ocalan's release and should have faith in the state's ability to handle the case.
A lower chamber of the European Court has already criticized many aspects of the original trial, including Ocalan's lack of access to the proceedings and the imposition of the death penalty.
Ocalan’s capture by Turkish intelligence agents and subsequent conviction were a cause for huge jubilation across much of Turkey.
There is little doubt that Ocalan - a figure of hatred for the majority of Turkish and Kurdish people in Turkey - would be convicted again. But the government is worried that a retrial would provide an opportunity for Ocalan to address and rally his PKK rebels, sparking an explosion of nationalism.
No Call for Re-trial

"A new trial is not explicitly ordered" said Ocalan's lawyer Marc Muller, "but the judgment indicates that the court believes this is the best option" According to observers, Ocalan would, in all likelihood, be convicted again. "Ocalan will be given the same sentence even if he is tried one hundred times" said Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul this week.

PKK is considered terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, the EU, UK and Germany. British intelligence service named Ocalan “the most dangerous terrorist” during the 1990s. PKK terrorism cost more than 30,000 lives. The PKK still operates in south-eastern Turkey and Northern Iraq. The terrorist organization has armed bases in Iraq.

JTW, with BBC and news agencies
12 May 2005
Created by anita
Last modified 2005-05-25 06:22 AM

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