Bianet: 1 Year 3 Months Imprisonment for Leyla Zana



A Diyarbakır court has sentenced politician Zana for “organisational propaganda”.

A court in Diyabakır has sentenced Kurdish politician Leyla Zana to 1 year and 3 months imprisonment for allegedly spreading PKK propaganda in a speech made at a seminar at London’s SOAS University on 24 May 2008.

In her speech, she had likened the PKK and its imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan’s importance to the Kurdish people to the importance the brain and heart have to humans. “They have created a new life for the Kurdish people, so that a people that used to be ashamed of its existence gained a spirit of freedom and resistance.”

The former MP for the Democracy Party (DEP) was tried under Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terrorism Law and the prosecution demanded 5 years imprisonment.

The police had monitored recordings on the Kurdish satellite channel Roj TV and had filed a criminal complaint against her.

Previous long imprisonment

In 1994, Zana and several other Kurdish politicians were arrested for using Kurdish at the swearing-in ceremony for MPs. They were imprisoned for 15 years and released in 2004.

Supporters of Zana in Turkey and France organised campaigns after she was sentenced to ten years imprisonment last year for speeches she made. The case is currently at the Supreme Court of Appeals. The campaign in Turkey has called for the Supreme Court to overturn the sentence, and on MPs to lift legal obstructions to the freedom of expression. In France, a campaign started on 10 February was signed by many intellectuals.

In the report by the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, problems regarding the freedom of expression, Leyla Zana’s court case under Article 301 was cited. The EU had awarded Zana the Sakharov Prize in 1995. (EÃœ/AG)

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