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Abdullah Öcalan in one of the last images of him from 2013

13/06/2016 - 17:51 0
Öcalan Retrial: Lawyers Apply to European Court of Human Rights

The lawyers of Kurdistan Worker's Party leader Abdullah Öcalan, have applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after the Turkish Constitutional Court rejected an application for fair retrial. The ECHR had identified violations in 2003 and 2005 regarding the Kurdish leader's initial trial in Turkey, which paved the way for a retrial. To counter this Turkey recently passed new legislation in order to prevent Öcalan’s retrial.

Cengiz Yürekli, a lawyer from the Asrın Law Office, stated that they had applied to the Constitutional Court for retrial with the Law 6459 that had come into effect in 2013. After the court’s rejection, Yürekli and other lawyers applied to the ECHR on June 6, 2016 for Öcalan’s retrial.

Yürekli emphasised that Öcalan's trial in 1999 had violated the law, and the ECHR identified these violations in 2003 and 2005. Yürekli gave the following statement as he cited the ECHR decision on the violations during Öcalan’s trial in 1999: "Öcalan was detained longer than legally allowed; was prevented from taking legal measures, seeing his lawyers, or accessing his files; was tried in a military court which is not independent and neutral. The only way to remedy these violations is a fair retrial in an independent and neutral court."

Yürekli noted that the Turkish state had anticipated the ECHR's decision and passed new legislation in order to prevent a retrial. "Turkey rejected our demands for retrial in ways that violated the law, and deprived hundreds of other people of their right to retrial even though the new legislation was aimed solely at Öcalan. The ECHR then decided upon the retrial of hundreds of people, which created a crisis in the Turkish judiciary system," he said.

Yürekli also recalled that they had applied to Turkish courts for the retrial in 2013, but courts at all levels had rejected their application and mostly, without an explanation. "The Constitutional Court made a political decision and rejected our applications, even though Öcalan had the right to retrial. We also applied to the Ministry of Justice, but did not receive any positive response on this issue," the lawyer added.

"We have been banned from meeting our client for more than 5 years, and neither Öcalan nor his lawyers or family have been informed about his legal procedure," Yürekli said.

Abdullah Öcalan has been in solitary confinement on a maximum security, specially built island prison since his abduction in 1999. He has not been visited by his lawyers for more than 5 years, by his family for more than 2 years and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) delegation since May 2015, when the Kurdish question's 'resolution process' came to an end.

Source: Ozgur Gundem