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Turkey Hands Down Death Penalty for 33 Islamists

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  • Islamic News and Information Network
    Assalamu alaikum, Turkey Hands Down Death Penalty for 33 Islamists ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 16, 2000

      Turkey Hands Down Death Penalty for 33 Islamists

      ANKARA (Reuters) - A Turkish court Friday sentenced 33 Muslim activists to
      death for their role in an Islamist riot in 1993 in which 37 people were
      killed, state-run Anatolian news agency said.

      The death penalty is one of the top agenda items in relations between
      Turkey and the European Union since the bloc granted the country EU
      candidate status last December.

      The 15-nation bloc has urged Ankara to abolish capital punishment to meet
      membership standards. Turkey keeps the death penalty on its statute books
      but has not executed anyone since the mid-1980s.

      Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan was the most prominent convict given
      the death sentence last year, but Turkey has decided to await the result
      of his appeal to a European court.

      ``(Judge Orhan) Karadeniz announced that the 33 accused were given the
      death penalty for disrupting the state's constitutional order,'' Anatolian
      agency said.

      It said the Ankara state security court jailed 15 other accused for from
      five to 20 years for their roles in the riot.

      The court had retried the case after Turkey's appeal court said sentences
      previously handed down were too lenient and ordered a new trial.

      Thousands rioted in the central Turkish town of Sivas in the summer of
      1993, attacking a hotel which was hosting a festival organized by the
      Muslim liberal Alevi community.

      The Alevis are often at odds with Turkey's Islamists from the majority
      Sunni branch of Islam. The attack sent shudders through Turkey's
      secularist establishment which feared a rise in Islamic activism.

      Turkish prosecutors launched a legal onslaught on Islamic activism after
      the country's first Islamist-led government was toppled from power under
      military pressure three years ago and their main party was later banned.

      Overwhelmingly Muslim but officially secular, Turkey's current main
      opposition grouping -- the Islamic Virtue Party -- faces a possible court
      ban on the charge of attempting to subvert the country's strictly secular

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