Peter Schieder deplores Ankara state security court decision on Leyla Zana and three other former parliamentarians
Strasbourg, 22.04.2004 - Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly President Peter Schieder said he deplored the confirmation of the conviction of Leyla Zana and three other former parliamentarians by the Ankara state security court as this conviction was to a large extent based on an unjustified interference with the applicants’ freedom to discuss issues of public concern.
Mr Schieder regretted the time it had taken to have the criminal procedure against them re-opened following the Strasbourg Court’s judgment in 2001 which found the original trial to be unfair (Sadak, Zana, Dilce and Dogan judgment). He deplored the fact that despite repeated requests by the Parliamentary Assembly, the execution of the original prison sentence imposed had not been suspended and the applicants had therefore remained in prison.
With regard to the conduct of the trial, Mr Schieder said he was concerned about various allegations made by international observers as to the lack of equity and fairness of the new procedure.
“While fully respecting the independence of the judiciary, I must say that this court sentence comes at a particularly delicate moment. Next week, our Parliamentary Assembly will debate a report on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Turkey which recommends closing the monitoring procedure on the grounds that ‘over the last three years Turkey has clearly demonstrated its commitment and ability to fulfil its statutory obligations as a Council of Europe member state’.
This Court sentence damages the overall picture we have of Turkey, which has otherwise implemented a huge reform package and made progress with regard to respect for human rights, the rule of law and democratic principles. I would therefore appeal to the Turkish authorities to do everything in their power to set them free,“ Peter Schieder concluded.
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