Human rights seem to be improving in Turkey. In June, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) adopted a package of reforms that revised some of the most repressive aspects of the Turkish penal code. However, many serious breaches of human rights are still occurring.
In 1991, Leyla Zana was the first Kurdish woman to be elected to the Turkish parliament. When her party, the DEP, was outlawed in 1994, Zana and three fellow Kurdish MPs were imprisoned for 15 years. In 2001 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the trial was unfair; Turkish law now allows a retrial in such circumstances. The next hearing of Zana's case will be on 15 September. She is serving an additional two-year term for writing an article about Kurdish culture, produced while in jail in 1998.
Leyla Zana is being punished for exercising her right to freedom of speech.
Please send appeals to:
Minister of Justice
06659 Ankara, Turkey.
Fax: (90) 312 418 5667
Alev Adil is a member of the PEN Writers in Prison Committee and head of the department of creative, critical and communication studies at the University of Greenwich, London