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Jailed Turkish Kurd leader seeks retrial

Turkish Kurd leader Abdullah Ocalan tries to negotiate a retrial and other amenities after April reforms with Turkish government

AFP , Saturday 27 Jul 2013
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Views: 826

Jailed Turkish Kurd leader Abdullah Ocalan has demanded his retrial under legal reforms that took effect in April, one of his lawyers said Saturday.

"These reforms pave the way for a new trial for all those convicted who could not be retried under the old law," Rezan Sarica told AFP.

Ocalan's lawyers also asked for his sentence to be suspended.

The 64-year-old founder of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was captured in February 1999 and sentenced to death two months later as the head of a terrorist organisation.

The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2002 when Turkey abolished the death penalty.

Ocalan has been in negotiations since late 2012 with Turkish authorities for an end to the Kurdish conflict, which has cost some 45,000 lives since 1984.

Last month the rebels began withdrawing from bases in northern Iraq. They are now waiting for gestures in return from the central government.

They have demanded the right to Kurdish-language education as well as a degree of autonomy in the southeast of Turkey where they predominate.

In May, the PKK demanded better detention conditions for Ocalan including allowing him to communicate more easily with the outside world, and to be seen by an independent doctor.

In a message read out last Sunday by a member of parliament after visiting Ocalan, the Kurdish leader said he was refused a request to hold a press conference.

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