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Tuesday, June 8, 1999 Published at 09:44 GMT 10:44 UK


World: Europe

Ocalan - new execution demand

Mr Ocalan's lawyers - allowed time to prepare final arguments

Turkish prosecutors have renewed their demand that the Kurdish rebel leader, Abdullah Ocalan, be executed for treason.

The Ocalan File
Following a three day adjournment, the lawyers were summing up their accusations against Mr Ocalan at a top security court on the island of Imrali.

The leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebel movement is accused of attempting to divide the country with an armed separatist campaign.

Judges adjourned the case for a further 15 days to allow his lawyers to prepare their defence.

Focus on future


Chris Morris in Ankara: The chief prosecutor insisted on the death penalty
Mr Ocalan has not disputed many of the charges against him. Instead, he has attempted to focus attention on the future, suggesting that the Turkish government needs him to help bring the Kurdish insurrection to an end.

The PKK has threatened a violent response if Turkey rejects their leader's call for peace negotiations.

It has also warned against the imposition of a death sentence, saying it would "mean suicide for the Turkish state".

But the BBC's Chris Morris in Ankara says Mr Ocalan's call for peace and reconciliation appears to have fallen on deaf ears at the highest levels of the state.

Question of dialogue


[ image: Families of Turkish war dead call for the death sentence]
Families of Turkish war dead call for the death sentence
Turkey's powerful military says there has never been any contact with the PKK - nor will there be.

A statement from the head of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) on Monday said assertions by Mr Ocalan at the beginning of his trial last week that a high-ranking officer made contact with PKK members in Europe were false and aimed at undermining the TAF.

"The TAF has never considered the PKK as an interlocutor in its struggle against terrorism. Moreover, this is not possible in the future," the statement said.

The armed wing of the PKK, the Kurdistan People's Liberation Army, responded by calling the possibility of Mr Ocalan's execution "crazy". It repeated his call for a peaceful solution to the 14-year conflict which has claimed some 30,000 lives.

Lawyers face charges

During the three-day adjournment, lawyers representing the families of Turkish soldiers killed by the PKK attempted to open a case against Mr Ocalan's lawyers.

The families accuse the defence team of aiding the PKK, by reading out a PKK statement in court and accusing Turkey of sharing responsibility for the conflict between Turkey and Kurdish separatists in the south-east of the country.

On Monday, parliament debated policy proposals of the new Turkish Government, including one which would demilitarise the judicial system and bring about the removal of a military judge from the three-judge panel hearing the Ocalan case.


[ image: Pro-Ocalan demonstrations continue outside Turkey]
Pro-Ocalan demonstrations continue outside Turkey
The presence of the military judge has been one of the factors which have raised fears among human rights groups about Mr Ocalan's chances of a fair trial.

Ankara's Western allies have called on Turkey to ensure the Kurdish leader receives a fair trial and say they are watching developments closlely.

On Sunday, defence lawyers accused the court, the press and the families of Turkish war dead of working to foil their defence of Mr Ocalan.

But in parliament, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit rejected accusations made by Mr Ocalan's lawyers that they were being treated unfairly in court, calling the proceedings "unreproachable and unbiased".





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