Turkey Jails Husband of Imprisoned Kurdish Deputy

ANKARA (Reuter)–A Turkish court Monday sentenced the husband of imprisoned Kurdish deputy Leyla Zana to prison for spreading "separatist propaganda," state-run Anatolian news agency reported.

It said Istanbul state security court sentenced Mehdi Zana to 10 months in prison and an 83 million lira ($ 540) fine for a book of poetry he had written.

The charge is one often used to try Kurdish or human rights activists.

Zana’s publisher–Aysenur Zarakolu–was given a fine of 42 million lira ($270).

Leyla Zana is one of four Kurdish ex-members of parliament who are currently serving a 15-year sentence for links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party.

In 1995 the European parliament awarded her the Sakharov peace prize for freedom of thought. Mehdi Zana accepted the award on his wife’s behalf in Strasbourg.

Turkey’s new Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz said at the weekend he would ask parliament soon to ease Turkey’s strict freedom of expression laws–often criticized by Ankara’s Western allies.

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