STRASBOURG (Agence France-Presse) – The European Court of Human Rights on Friday rejected a request by imprisoned terrorist leader Abdullah Ocalan for a retrial in Turkey.
Ocalan, now 62 years old, has been serving a life sentence since 1999 for the fight against Ankara waged by his outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
Ocalan applied for Ankara to reopen his case, invoking a 2005 ruling by the European rights court that found that his original trial had been flawed and suggested a retrial as a way to offer him redress.
But the court noted that the Council of Europe’s 47-member committee of ministers had expressed satisfaction with the steps taken by Turkey since the 2005 ruling to improve Ocalan’s conditions.
Ocalan’s original death sentence was commuted to life in prison as Turkey abolished capital punishment as part of EU-sought reforms.
He was the sole inmate at a prison on the island of Imralı until November when Ankara transferred five other prisoners to the facility, in response to protests from the Council of Europe’s anti-torture committee.
Complaints by Ocalan over his new prison conditions sparked major demonstrations in Turkey’s Southeast last year, resulting in three deaths.