Ocalan awaits death sentence ruling

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The Independent Online
THIRTY THOUSAND dead; 3,226 villages burnt to the ground; 3 million people displaced from their homes; 14 years of violence and terror. The major city of south-east Turkey, Diyarbakir, once dubbed the "Paris of the East", is reduced to a vast, filthy, refugee camp.

These are the costs of Turkey's long and bitter struggle with the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a struggle Ankara will claim it has finally won today when a Turkish judge passes sentence on the PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

Mr Ocalan will be given one last chance to speak from his glass cage in the courtroom on the heavily guarded prison island of Imrali. Then the judge will read out the sentence.

Nobody doubts that he will be condemned to death, but Mr Ocalan's nemesis - the men who brought him to this final humiliation - will not be there. As always in Turkey, the generals who hold the real power will be out of sight.

Mr Ocalan still has a long road to travel to the gallows. By law, parliament has to confirm a sentence of death. His lawyers say they will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. There are reports the all- powerful generals are divided, too, over whether he should be hanged, fearing that he may become a martyr.

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