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 Three more Kurdish MPs denied release from Turkish prison

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Three more Kurdish MPs denied release from Turkish prison  26.6.2011   

June 26, 2011

ISTANBUL, — A Turkish court on Saturday rejected applications to free three Kurdish activists who were elected to Turkish parliament from jail, awaiting trial for terror-related charges, Anatolia news agency reported.

Selma Irmak, Faysal Sariyildiz and Kemal Aktas, accused of being members of the urban wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK] won their parliamentary seats in June 12 elections as independent candidates from the mainly Kurdish southeast Anatolia.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community, took up arms in southeast Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed about 45,000 lives.

The court rejected the applications on the grounds that terror-related charges fall out of the scope of legislative immunity, Anatolia reported.

Earlier this week judges rejected similar pleas for two intellectuals and a retired general, who were elected to parliament from jail on the ticket of two main opposition parties.

Journalist Mustafa Balbay, academic Mehmet Haberal and retired general Engin Alan are in jail,
www.ekurd.netaccused of involvement in alleged plots to destabilise and overthrow the Islamist-rooted government.

A total of nine people were elected to parliament from prison, while Hatip Dicle, a prominent Kurdish activist among them had already been stripped of his seat over a recently upheld terror-related conviction.

The court also rejected Saturday his plea for release.                  

More Kurdish MPs denied release from Turkish prison.

Turkey's new parliament is already braced for a tense opening next week after some 30 Kurdish lawmakers announced Thursday they would boycott the legislature in protest at the controversial ruling stripping of Dicle of his seat.

Since it was established in 1984, the Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list.

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