Turkey: Former MP jailed for voicing pro-Kurdish sentiments

WiB / MWC News
A statement from the Italian chapter of Women in Black (WiB) on the recent sentencing of Leyla Zana to 2 years in prison.
"Freedom for Leyla Zana and for the Kurdish population in Turkey"
"More prison time is on the horizon for Leyla Zana, who was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for having spoken publicly of the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Abdullah Ocalan. The sentence, which was handed down April 10, 2008 by the court in the city of Diyarbakir, convicted Zana of making "propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization."

This was Turkey's response to the recent decision by the European Union's second highest court, the Court of First Instance of Luxemburg, to remove the PKK from the list of terrorist organizations.

And yet another attempt to silence the voice of Leyla Zana, one of the most prominent individuals working for peace between the Kurdish and Turkish peoples, who has already served 10 years in Turkish prisons, from 1994 to 2004.

Leyla Zana has demonstrated to the world to be a woman of extraordinary courage who has always been firmly convinced of the need for dialog.

We will continue to support Leyla Zana, "peace prisoner," and her right to freedom and we call upon the European Parliament, who awarded Zana the Sakharov Prize for human rights in 1995, to stop the brutal escalation by the more reactionary political forces in Turkey, responsible for violence and repressive acts during the recent Newroz celebrations as well as numerous legal proceedings against Kurdish mayors and political exponents.

We call on Europe to use the negotiations with Ankara for entry into the European Union as an opportunity to express strong condemnation for an unjust sentence against Leyla Zana.

We call on Italy to give full priority to the respect of human rights over interests of the market by supporting the request for a moratorium on the sale of Italian weapons to Turkey."

Donne In Nero (Women in Black)

Italy, 12 aprile 2008