Turkish Court Opens Ocalan Appeal

ANKARA, Oct 7, (AP) — Abdullah Ocalan’s lawyers are asking for a retrial of the Kurdish rebel leader, saying his death sentence is unfair given his recent calls for peace.

Since his trial, Ocalan has been pushing for peace between his fighters and the state. He has ordered a cease-fire, instructing his fighters to withdraw from southeastern Turkey. He also called on a group of eight guerrillas to surrender to show that his Kurdistan Workers Party is serious in its push for peace.

“In the light of those developments, we will demand a retrial,” Dogan Erbas, one of Ocalan’s lawyers, said Wednesday. Erbas says Ocalan’s legal team will also argue that the guerrilla leader’s February capture in Kenya by Turkish commandos was illegal.

The Turkish military, however, has ignored the rebel’s peace moves and recently has been assaulting guerrilla positions across the border in Iraq. Many military commanders say Ocalan’s moves are insincere and designed to save him from the gallows.

Ocalan is widely reviled in Turkey as the man who led Kurdish guerrillas on a 15-year struggle for autonomy that has left some 37,000 people dead.

 Source: Associated Press

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