Turkey to Prepare Ocalan Courtroom on Prison Island

ANKARA (Reuters)–A Turkish court asked the Justice Ministry on Wednesday to prepare a courtroom to try Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan on the prison island where he has been held since his capture last month–Anatolian news agency reported.

The Ankara State Security Court which met on Wednesday has been trying Ocalan in absentia since 1997. Ocalan was not present at the hearing–which Judge Turgut Okyay adjourned until April 30.

The Ankara trial is expected to act as the basis of a full treason trial–although the court now seems almost certain to transfer to Imrali island in the Sea of Marmara. European countries have urged that Ocalan be given a fair trial.

A wave of violence has swept Turkey since Ocalan was captured in Kenya. Police say the bomb attacks–some of them lethal–have been carried out by members of Ocalan’s Kurdistan Workers Party taking revenge for the arrest of their leader.

While Turkey has the death penalty on its books–it has not executed a convict since 1984.

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