TITLE=TURKEY / OCALAN (L ONLY)
INTRO: Turkey's chief prosecutor, Vural Savas, has
rejected demands for a retrial of Kurdish rebel leader
Abdullah Ocalan. Ocalan was sentenced to death in
June. Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara.
TEXT: Ocalan's lawyers say their domestic legal
avenues are now exhausted. So they say they now will
apply to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human
Rights to intervene on behalf of Ocalan, the leader of
an outlawed rebel group known as the P-K-K.
Ocalan was sentenced to death after being convicted on
treason charges last June at the end of a one-month
trial on the prison island where he is being held.
Lawyers for the P-K-K leader say the trial was riddled
with irregularities and they are demanding a new
trial. Experts say the European court could take up
to two years to come up with its decision. They say
the court also could renew demands that Ocalan not be
Although there are about 40 Turkish prisoners on death
row, no one has been executed in Turkey since 1984 --
in line with efforts to bring the country's laws
closer to standards of West European nations.
Both Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and Justice
Mnister Hikmet Sami Turk have repeatedly indicated
that Ocalan cannot be executed if Turkey wants to
become a full member of the European Union.
Under Turkish law, it is up to parliament to decide
the P-K-K leader's fate. Until recently, there was
strong public pressure on the politicians to vote in
favor of hanging the man Turkey blames for the deaths
of nearly 40-thousand of its citizens.
Analysts say Ocalan's demands that his P-K-K fighters
abandon their bloody independence struggle and
withdraw from Turkish territory have greatly reduced
the Turkish public's thirst for revenge.
Prime Minister Ecevit says Turkey will need to await
the European Court's verdict before its proceeds any
further with the Ocalan case.
30-Dec-1999 10:07 AM EDT (30-Dec-1999 1507 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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