Kurdish politician Zana sentenced to prison in Turkey

April 10th, 2008 - 10:02 pm ICT by admin  

Ankara, April 10 (DPA) Kurdish politician Leyla Zana was sentenced by a Turkish court Thursday to two years imprisonment after being convicted of spreading “terrorist propaganda”, the NTV television station reported. The court in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir found that Zana, the winner of the 1995 European Parliament Sakharov Peace Prize, had spread terrorist propaganda during a political rally last year.

During the rally, Zana said that Kurds have three leaders, namely Massoud Barzani and Celal Talabani of Iraq and Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the separatist Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK).

A former MP, Zana was imprisoned in 1994 for alleged links to PKK militants - a decision overturned in 2004, but not before Zana and three other former legislators had spent almost 10 years behind bars.

The court’s decision to jail Zana came on the same day that European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso arrived in Ankara for talks with Turkish leaders during which he pushed for Turkey to soften laws that restrict freedom of speech.

Turkey blames the PKK for the deaths of more than 32,000 people since the early 1980s when the PKK started its campaign for independence or autonomy.

The US and the European Union consider the PKK a terrorist group.

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