Turkey Charges Five Kurdish “Peace” Rebels

ISTANBUL (Reuters)–A Turkish court on Tuesday slapped "terrorist" charges on five members of a Kurdish group who gave themselves up last month in what they said was a gesture to help peace.

Anatolian news agency said an Istanbul state security court had charged five of the eight-person group with membership of an illegal group. Cases against the three others were still being prepared–it said.

Hatice Korkut–a lawyer acting for the group–said her office had not yet received formal notification of the charges against her clients. The five face jail sentences of more than 15 years if convicted.

The group surrendered to authorities in October–the second such move since condemned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan ordered the movement to transform itself into a legitimate political force.

Another "peace group" of eight PKK members surrendered earlier in October. They were swiftly detained and letters they brought with them for Turkish leaders were ignored. They now face possible prison sentences of up to 20 years.

Turkish military and political leaders have urged all PKK members to give themselves up to Turkey if they are serious about ending the conflict.

In the southern town of Iskenderun–lawyers for two women filed complaints against police officers they say tortured and raped their clients after arresting them earlier this year.

The two women were detained after taking part in violent demonstrations protesting against Turkey’s capture of Ocalan in Kenya in February.

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