Posted by: hevallo | December 5, 2008

Leyla Zana Jailed Again!

Leyla Zana, one the Kurds most prominent and visible advocates has been jailed again!

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. Source: BBC.

“The case against me is a violation against freedom of thought, and represents a threat to every Kurd in Turkey. The decision of the court is just another way to repress, silence and punish the Kurds. The mentality governing this country is that problems can be resolved by anti democratic and repressive means and that unfair trial can provide political and social peace. But despite all this, our people will claim their legitimate rights, and will continue to struggle for this as long as it takes”. Leyla Zana statement on the sentencing.

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