RealNews

Court Faults Turkish Trial of a Kurd

The European Court of Human Rights ruled today that Turkey did not give a fair trial in 1999 to Abdullah Ocalan, a Kurdish rebel leader who is serving a life sentence in an island prison where he is the only inmate. While the ruling by the court in Strasbourg, France, does not compel the Turkish government to give Mr. Ocalan a new trial, it threw a fresh spotlight on Turkey’s human rights record, which European leaders have cited as an obstacle to the country’s bid to join the European Union. The ruling also came just a day after the collapse of negotiations to unite the Turkish and Greek sectors of Cyprus, a development that could further hamper Turkey’s frustrated desire for union membership. Before his capture four years ago, Mr. Ocalan was the leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or P.K.K., which waged a militant struggle during the 1990’s for a separate Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey. The Turkish government blamed Mr. Ocalan for the deaths of as many as 30,000 people during that conflict. Full Story

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