New trial of former Kurdish MPs set for October

Wext: Sunday, 08.August. @ 00:00:00 CEST

Mijar:

ANKARA, Aug 5 (AFP) - 13h39 - Four former Turkish MPs who spent a decade behind bars before their conviction for links with armed Kurdish rebels was overturned by the appeals court will be tried again in October, a lawyer for the defendants said Thursday.

"The date of the new trial has been set for October 22," attorney Yusuf Alatas told AFP.

The trial will be the third on the same charges for human rights award winner Leyla Zana, Hatip Dicle, Selim Sadak and Orhan Dogan in a legal saga which could influence Turkey's bid to join the European Union.

The four were first sentenced to 15 years in jail in 1994 for membership of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which led a 15-year bloody campaign for self-rule in the country's southeast.

Zana, 1995 winner of the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov human rights prize, and her co-defendants were allowed a retrial in March last year after their original trial was condemned as unfair by the European Court of Human Rights in 2001.

The retrial upheld the original sentences amid accusations by rights activists and defence lawyers that the proceedings were again flawed.

However, the appeals court quashed their conviction and ordered a new trial. The four activists were released in June.

The case is being closely monitored by the European Union which sees the proceedings as a test of Ankara's resolve to adopt democratic reforms ahead of a key decision by European leaders in December on whether to open accession talks with the mainly Muslim country.



Source: AFP










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