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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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The Kurdish Human Rights Project condemns the imprisonment of Akin Birdal
Today one of Turkey’s leading human rights activists will be imprisoned for daring to attempt to promote a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question.

Akin Birdal, President of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD) will begin his jail term of nine and a half months today on charges of promoting Kurdish separatism and using the term "the Kurdish people". In September 1996, Birdal made a speech at the World Peace Day calling for a democratic and peaceful solution to the Kurdish question. In July 1998 he was sentenced for "inciting people to hatred and enmity on the basis of class, race or regional difference".

Not only does he face months languishing in a Turkish jail, but he could completely lose the use of his right arm if he continues to be denied the crucial medical treatment abroad that he has been demanding ever since the assassination attempt saw him hospitalised and fighting for his life in May last year.

Birdal was sentenced in accordance with Article 312 of the Turkish Penal Code.

Amnesty International will now consider Akin Birdal a prisoner of conscience. The imprisonment of Birdal represents a wider policy of harassment against the Human Rights Association of Turkey as the Turkish government seeks to ensure the widespread closure of the branch.

The Kurdish Human Rights Project reiterates its call for restrictions on freedom of expression in Turkey to be lifted. The Turkish authorities, with the aid of the international community, should examine the provisions of Turkish law, including the Penal Code and the Anti-Terror Law, to ensure compliance with Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights and Turkey’s other international legal obligations.