9 November 2004
A Dutch court has blocked the extradition to Turkey of a PKK terror organization member.
Nuriye Kesbir, member of the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) terrorist organization, is accused of organising attacks on military targets in the 1990s.
The Dutch Justice Ministry approved her handover in September after the supreme court ruled she could be extradited.
But a court in The Hague has said the Netherlands could not be sure she would receive a fair trial in Turkey.
The PKK, which is illegal in Turkey, in the UK, the USA and in many European Union states, wants an independent Kurdish state in south-eastern Turkey, and attacks civilian and military targets in this country since 1980. The British MI5 considered the PKK in its reports as one of the most dangerous terror organizations and many Western countries put the PKK in their List of Terrorist Organizations.
The Turkish authorities had said Ms Kesbir would be treated fairly and given a fair trial. The Turkish representative further argue that Turkey signed all European conventions and treties which guarantees all main human rights and a fair trail.
But the district court ruled on Monday that the Justice Ministry had overlooked several reports from the United Nations and other organisations which accused Turkish authorities of torturing terrorist activists.
"Against the background of what the reports say about the human rights situation in Turkey -- noting that the substance of the reports is not being challenged -- the minister should not have been satisfied with the guarantees given in general terms by the Turkish embassy that the Turkish authorities would honour their international obligations with regards to (Kesbir)," the court said.
The PKK-leader, Ms Kesbir, has always denied the charges of being involved in the attacks and claims she dealt only with women's issues as a member of the PKK's presidential council.
She was arrested after arriving in the Netherlands in September 2001. She was denied political asylum and has been fighting extradition proceedings since. Ms Kesbir has said she fears she will face an unfair trial and might be tortured if she returns to Turkey.
The Dutch Justice Ministry is reported to be considering an appeal against the district court's ruling.
Turkey has recently approved a range of human rights reforms as part of its efforts to achieve approval for EU membership.
Both France and Germany have confirmed they are in favour of opening talks with Turkey about EU membership, as recommended by a European Commission report last month.
Compiled from BBC NEWS and news agencies