Court rejects jailed PKK leader’s demand for retrial

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 An Ankara court today rejected a demand from Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), requesting a retrial and a suspension of his prison sentence.

Öcalan’s lawyers had filed a new request for a retrial after the reform bill known as the “fourth judicial package” was approved by the Parliament in April.

A clause in the bill enabled the retrial of some convicts whose rights originating from the European Convention of Human Rights had been violated according to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Lawyers argued that Öcalan’s conviction was breaching ECHR law and gave a legitimate right to apply for a retrial under the amendment.

However the judge panel rejected unanimously the lawyers’ request, Anadolu agency reported. 

Öcalan is currently serving a life sentence on İmralı Island. Since December 2012, the PKK leader has been involved in peace talks with the government to solve permanently the three-decades-long armed conflict in the Kurdish southeastern areas of the country. The process is currently in a critical phase, with PKK militants continuing to withdraw from Turkish soil and the Kurdish actors increasing their pressure on the government to prepare deep reforms.

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