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Thursday, June 3, 1999 Published at 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK

World: Europe

Human rights campaigner jailed in Turkey

The human rights campaigner Akin Birdal has begun a jail sentence in Turkey following his conviction over pro-Kurdish speeches which violated a law against inciting racial or religious hatred.

In two speeches in 1995 and '96 Mr Birdal supported cultural rights for Kurdish people and called for an end to the conflict between Turkey and the Kurdish separatist party, the PKK. The PKK is lead by Abdullah Ocalan who is facing a possible death sentence for treason. Mr Birdal was shot six times in an assassination attempt last year but failed to have his prison sentence deferred on health grounds.

He's expected to stay in jail for ten-months after being convicted under a law which has also been used to prosecute journalists, writers and academics.

Mr Birdal has said he'll appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

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