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Last Updated: Monday, 8 November, 2004, 12:45 GMT
Dutch court bars Kurd extradition
Protest in The Hague in October
Kurds in the Netherlands have protested against the extradition plan
A Dutch court has blocked the extradition to Turkey of a Kurdish woman said to be a militant leader.

Nuriye Kesbir, alleged to belong to the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), is accused of organising attacks on military targets in the 1990s.

The Dutch justice ministry approved her handover in September after the supreme court ruled she could be extradited.

But a court in The Hague has said the Netherlands could not be sure she would receive a fair trial in Turkey.

The PKK, which is illegal in Turkey, wants an independent Kurdish state in south-eastern Turkey.

The Turkish authorities had said Ms Kesbir would be treated fairly and given a fair trial.

But the district court ruled on Monday that the justice ministry had overlooked several reports from the United Nations and other organisations which accused Turkish authorities of torturing Kurdish activists.

Torture fears

Ms Kesbir has always denied the charges of being involved in the attacks and claims she dealt only with women's issues as a member of the PKK's presidential council.

She was arrested after arriving in the Netherlands in September 2001. She was denied political asylum and has been fighting extradition proceedings since. Ms Kesbir has said she fears she will face an unfair trial and might be tortured if she returns to Turkey.

The Dutch justice ministry is reported to be considering an appeal against the district court's ruling.

Turkey has recently approved a range of human rights reforms as part of its efforts to achieve approval for EU membership.

Both France and Germany have confirmed they are in favour of opening talks with Turkey about EU membership, as recommended by a European Commission report last month.

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