Kurdish Leader to Appeal Death Sentence to European Court

By Gerry Foley


Lawyers for Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Workers Party of Kurdistan (PKK), who was condemned to death in Turkey at the end of June, held a news conference on July 20.

They complained that they had not yet even been given the State Security Court’s written verdict, despite the fact that it was being discussed in the press and was the object of appeal proceedings.

After the domestic appeals court rules on the case, the lawyers will ask for a stay of execution until the European Court of Human Rights can study the case.

The Kurdish leader was kidnapped in Kenya by Turkish commandos, aided by the U.S. secret services, and shipped to Turkey, after he had been denied asylum by a series of European countries, including Russia.

The countries complicit in the gangster-like kidnapping of Ocalan and international legal bodies with a mandate to defend international law clearly bear a major responsibility in this case.

Ocalan has tried to use his trial to launch an appeal for a peace process in Turkey. Ocalan’s abduction, trial, and condemnation have drawn more and more international attention on the Turkish government’s repression against the Kurdish people both within its borders and in northern Iraq.

The Italian daily ll Manifesto reported July 4 that despite huge foreign debts, Turkey is one of the world’s biggest importers of weapons, and that most of its military budget goes for the war against the Kurdish people.

The Turkish regime has spent $86 billion since 1994 on its war against the PKK guerrillas, approximating its total foreign debt of $92 billion. Various European countries, as well as the United States, collect the blood money from this war by selling military equipment to the Turkish army. Thereby they also help to keep the Turkish economy poor and dependent.

PKK commander Duran Kalkan told the Kurdish media on July 19 that in the Ocalan trial “it became very clear that Europe does not have a political approach that supersedes its economic interests.”

In a press conference June 30 on Ocalan’s condemnation, Kani Xulam of the American Kurdish Information Network (AKIN) flayed the hypocrisy of the American press and government that has been exposed by the Ocalan case:

“A few days ago, the Washington Post noted that the U.S. government was going to award $5 million to anyone who helped with the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic for his crimes against humanity or more specifically against the Kosovars. The Turkish criminals who have reduced the Kurdish countryside to a wasteland and driven millions of their residents to a life of destitution, on the other hand, are hailed as allies and the fellow liberators of Kosovars.”

For further information on the campaign in defense of Ocalan, call AKIN at (202) 483-6444, or e-mail them at akin@kurdish.org.

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