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Last Updated: Friday, 17 October, 2003, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Kurdish 'test-case' drags on
By Jonny Dymond
BBC, Ankara

The retrial of Kurdish dissident Leyla Zana and three of her colleagues has resumed in the Turkish capital, Ankara.

Leyla Zana arrives at a Turkish court for her retrial
Zana: Jailed over alleged terrorist links
This is the eighth hearing in the retrial.

Miss Zana was arrested for and found guilty of membership of a terrorist organisation in 1994.

But her trial was considered unfair by the European Court of Human Rights.

The retrial has become something of a test case.

It is only taking place because of reforms to Turkey's legal system allowing such retrials to be ordered.

The reforms are part of Turkey's attempts to join the European Union.

Peace prize pending

Ms Zana was one of the first MPs in Turkey to represent a Kurdish party.

She shocked and angered the establishment by taking her parliamentary oath in Kurdish as well as Turkish.

She also actively promoted Kurdish rights at a time when the Turkish state was battling the Kurdish paramilitary organisation, the PKK.

Ms Zana was arrested and charged at various times with a variety of offences.

She has been in prison for nine years.

Her trial was widely denounced as unfair.

Now, slowly, with just one hearing a month, Ms Zana is being retried.

The case is attended by a variety of international observers and members of the European Parliament.

Miss Zana is the recipient of the parliament's Sakharov Peace Prize.

She has been unable to collect the prize because she has been in the prison.


SEE ALSO:
Europe welcomes Turkish reforms
03 Aug 02  |  Europe


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