Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-06-12
Protest rally – Ocalan – Trial
Nicosia, Jun 12 (CNA) — Some 100 people gathered in downtown Eleftheria Square here today to protest the conditions under which Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan is being tried.
Protestors, mainly Kurds residing in Cyprus, called on Turkey to seize the opportunity and try and solve the Kurdish issue.
They appealed to the UN and other international organizations to exert pressure on Turkey to respect human rights and retry Ocalan in accordance to international legal norms.
“Ocalan, the key to peace and war”, “Turkish troops out of Cyprus and Kurdistan” and “No peace without Ocalan”, read some of the banners at the protest rally, which took place without incident.
A letter, addressed to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and signed by Kurds living in Cyprus, called on him “to intervene” and rectify, through his legal and humanitarian representatives, the “bad conditions of Ocalan’s trial.”
“The Turkish authorities are faced with a big opportunity to solve the most important problem they have and this opportunity is Ocalan’s trial,” the letter said.
If the leader of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) is executed, the letter warns, Turkey will be turned into “hell.”
“We call on all UN international organisations to intervene and we ask a retrial in accordance with democratic principles and guarantees for the life of the lawyers, who are constantly under attack,” the letter added.
The Kurds express the view that the UN and human rights organisations “have an obligation to exercise pressure on Turkey to force her to respect human rights and adopt democratic principles for a fair trial.”
Addressing the demonstrators, Stelios Theodoulou, President of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights in Cyprus, described Ocalan’s trial as “badly staged and badly produced performance” which is a “flagrant affront to international legal order.”
He said freedom, democracy and human dignity were never offered to anybody by its oppressors.
“They were won with sacrifice and persistent struggle by people. This is the road the Kurdish people will follow, with or without their leader,” Theodoulou said.