- Title: TURKEY: LEADING HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST RELEASED FROM PRISON.
- Date: 23rd September 2000
- Summary: ANKARA, TURKEY (SEPTEMBER 23, 2000) (REUTERS-ACCESS ALL) 1. MCU: HUMAN RIGHTS ASSOCIATION LEADER AKIN BIRDAL COMING OUT OF PRISON/ BEING PRESENTED WITH FLOWERS/ HUGGING SUPPORTERS (2 SHOTS) 0.56 2. MV/GV: MEDIA/ BIRDAL TALKING TO REPORTERS/ SUPPORTERS FROM PRISON GATE (3 SHOTS) 1.16 3. GV/PAN: BIRDAL GETTING INTO CAR 1.38 4. GV: BIRDAL AT NEWS CONFERENCE 1.43 5. MCU: (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) LEADER OF HUMAN RIGHTS ASSOCIATION AKIN BIRDAL SAYING: However a man who cannot speak, express himself or run his life on the basis of his ideas is not a free man. I am physically free now but I will not feel myself free until bans on thought and speech are ended, and my friends who are serving in prison because of their cultural and political identities are also set free. 2.14 6. MV: MEDIA/ BIRDAL BEING EMBRACED BY SUPPORTER (2 SHOTS) 2.26 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 8th October 2000 13:00
- Location: ANKARA, TURKEY
- Country: Turkey
- Reuters ID: LVA167JS5RT62JKB6SSPG01Z8XSN
- Story Text: Turkey's leading human rights activist has been
released from jail after serving more than nine months. Akin
Birdal says he will never really be free until all those in
Turkey with political or cultural differences are also let out
Akin Birdal was almost killed by right-wing hitmen in
a 1998 shooting. He is a figurehead for the human rights
movement in Turkey and has often been consulted by foreign
diplomats and ministers.
His latest prison sentence was handed down in June 1999
for speeches in which he called for a negotiated end to
Turkey's 16-year-old conflict with separatist Kurdish rebels.
Such strict legal restrictions on freedom of expression
are a major obstacle to Turkey achieving full membership of
the European Union.
Birdal, who limps as a result of the shooting and requires
regular medical care, was released from jail in September 1999
on health grounds but returned to prison in March 2000.
At a news conference shortly after his release on Saturday
(September 23), Birdal said that he did not feel free and
would not feel free until colleagues who had been jailed for
openly expressing their views were also released.
Turkey will be told in the next few weeks what it has to
do to gain membership of the European Union.
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