International Initiative
Freedom for Ocalan – Peace in Kurdistan
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Cologne, 2 May 2005

European rights court to rule on appeal by Turkish Kurd leader

The European Court of Human Rights will issue its ruling in the case of an appeal by jailed rebel Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan on May 12, the tribunal said Monday. Ocalan is appealing against the conditions of his detention in a Turkish prison on the remote island of Imrali in the Marmara Sea.

His lawyer has charged that his client is being subjected to "psychological torture", and that he is suffering from asthma and other ailments owing to damp in the prison.

In March 2003 the Strasbourg-based court agreed with Ocalan that a death sentence passed on him in 1999 came "at the outcome of an unfair trial" and amounted to inhumane treatment.

But it rejected his complaint about the conditions of his detention and the circumstances of his arrest. Both the Turkish authorities and Ocalan appealed against the rulings.

Ocalan, 56, was captured by Turkish undercover agents in Kenya in 1999, brought back to Turkey and sentenced to death for "treason and separatism." He is the only detainee in the island prison.

The condemnation arose from Ocalan's role in the war for independence waged by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in which an estimated 37,000 people died.

His sentence was later commuted to life in prison.

Source: AFP, 2 May 2005