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Wednesday, June 2, 1999 Published at 23:04 GMT 00:04 UK


World: Europe

Ocalan judge moved to tears

Closing arguments in the trial could be heard on Thursday

The widow of a Turkish soldier murdered by Kurdish rebels moved the judge to tears at the third day of the trial of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the outlawed Kurdish PKK movement.

The Ocalan File
Yildiz Namdar described how PKK fighters identified her husband at a roadblock, dragged him out of his car and shot him.

"What did we do to you? What did we do to you to deserve this?" she asked Mr Ocalan, who sits in a box of bullet-proof glass.

"I share your pain," Mr Ocalan replied, bowing to her.

Many people in the courtroom were in tears, including one of the judges. Several relatives of those killed by the PKK stood up in the courtroom and shouted "Execute him!"

Ocalan denies attacking civilians


[ image: Ocelan denied ordering attacks on civilians]
Ocelan denied ordering attacks on civilians
Mr Ocalan is on trial on charges of treason and faces a possible death sentence if convicted.

He has denied any responsibility for PKK attacks on civilians, blaming "uncontrollable rebel elements".

He said there had been an internal conflict in the PKK between 1987 and 1996. He also denied ordering any suicide attacks, and said he worked to prevent them.

However, he admitted that many attacks might have been carried out by PKK members working against his orders.

On Wednesday, a man presumed to be a Kurdish rebel blew himself up near a military garrison in the south-eastern Turkish city of Sirnak. No-one else was hurt in the incident.

The PKK earlier issued a statement supporting Mr Ocalan's call for an end to violence and a "democratic solution" to the long-running war with Turkey. But a PKK spokeswoman in Brussels, Mizgin Sen, added that "it all depends on Turkey now - the PKK has not surrendered".

Trial nearing an end

In an apparent sign that Turkey intends the trial to be brief, Judge Turgut Okyay asked both sides to prepare their closing arguments for presentation to the court on Thursday.

Mr Ocalan is charged with treason and faces the death sentence if convicted. At the start of his trial, he said that he could help solve the Kurdish problem peacefully, if he was allowed to live. But public opinion in Turkey is strongly in favour of harsh measures against Mr Ocalan.



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