Turkish prosecutors to seek death penalty for Ocalan
April 28, 1999
ANKARA, Turkey (CNN) -- A Turkish prosecutor on Wednesday formally presented a demand for the death penalty for Kurdish separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan, on charges of treason and separatism.
Prosecutor Cevdet Volkan told reporters he submitted a 139-page indictment to the State Security Court, a tribunal of one military and two civilian judges.
Ocalan, leader of the guerrilla Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), was captured in Kenya in February and transported to a Turkish prison on the island of Imrali in the Sea of Marmara.
The PKK has waged an armed campaign for self rule in the southeast of Turkey since 1984. Nearly 30,000 people have died in the fighting.
"It is clearly established that (Ocalan), through the organization he founded and organized, through his decisions and orders, sought to remove land under state sovereignty from the administration of the state," the indictment says.
The trial is expected to take place in a specially-built chamber on the prison island, which was evacuated in order to hold Ocalan alone.
Ocalan's capture led to a week of often violent protests by Kurds around the world.
If the judges find Ocalan guilty, they will have no choice but to order his execution by hanging.
The Turkish parliament, dominated by Turkish nationalists who swept to power in a general election April 18, must ratify the court's verdict.
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