France deports niece of Kurd rebel leader Ocalan

16th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

MARSEILLE, France, Feb 16 (AFP) - A niece of Abdullah Ocalan, the Kurdish rebel leader jailed in Turkey, was deported from France to Italy on Wednesday to pursue an asylum request there, French officials said.

MARSEILLE, France, Feb 16 (AFP) - A niece of Abdullah Ocalan, the Kurdish rebel leader jailed in Turkey, was deported from France to Italy on Wednesday to pursue an asylum request there, French officials said.

Ayney Ocalan, 24, was escorted from Marseille to Rome after being ordered to report to the southern French city's main police station, her lawyer, Lionel Febbraro, told AFP.

She had arrived in Marseille in November last year but French authorities determined she could not stay in France until her asylum application was processed in Italy, he said.

Febbraro called his client's summons to the police station on Tuesday "a trap" and said he had lodged a legal complaint against the deportation as soon as she was detained.

If she wins the complaint, she may be allowed back into France, he explained.

Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), was snatched by Turkish agents on February 15, 1999 as he left a Greek embassy in Kenya where he had taken refuge.

After being returned to Turkey, he was sentenced to death, but that was commuted to life imprisonment in 2002 when Turkey abolished capital punishment as part of its bid to join the European Union.

He is being held in solitary confinement on an island prison in northwest Turkey.

On Tuesday - the sixth anniversary of Ocalan's capture - hundreds of Kurds took to the streets of Marseille to call for Ocalan's release. Similar demonstrations took place in Turkey and elsewhere.

The PKK waged a bloody armed campaign for Kurdish self-rule in southeast Turkey between 1984 and 1999, with the conflict claiming some 37,000 lives.

The rebels ended a five-year unilateral ceasefire with Ankara last June.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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