Turkey jails Kurdish politician
Leyla Zana is an outspoken critic of Turkey’s evident discrimination against the Kurdish minority. She has been fighting for Kurdish human rights for many years and was previously imprisoned for 10 years, a harsh price for her peaceful activism. The Turkish government apparently doesn’t think that’s enough punishment for this innocent Kurdish activist who does not, in fact, have any proven links whatsoever to the PKK, a false claim and common tactic used by the Turkish government to justify abuse:
BBC – A Turkish court has sentenced a Kurdish politician to 10 years in prison for spreading propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The court ruled that Leyla Zana had violated the penal code and the anti-terror law in nine different speeches.
Ms Zana, 47, has already spent 10 years in prison for links to the PKK, though that conviction was later overturned.
Ms Zana was not in court, and this latest conviction will not be imposed until her appeal has been heard.
Her lawyer called the sentence an “unfortunate” decision in a country working to join the European Union, and said her client’s words were well within the bounds of free speech.
Human rights prize
She became widely known in 1991 when she won a seat in parliament and read part of her oath in Kurdish.
She and other Kurdish politicians lost their seats in 1994 after their party was outlawed for links with the PKK.
More than 40,000 people are thought to have been killed since 1984, when the PKK launched its campaign for a Kurdish homeland in south-eastern Turkey.
Ms Zana and three colleagues were imprisoned, at the height of the insurgency, for collaborating with the rebels.
They were released in June 2004.
Ms Zana won the European Parliament’s Sakharov human rights award in 1995.