The 1999 trial of Abdullah Ocalan is declared unfair

Europe's top human rights court declared the 1999 trial of Kurdish rebel &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Abdullah Ocalan unfair on Thursday, pressuring Turkey to defy nationalist anger and order a retrial in support of its EU ambitions.

Ankara signaled Ocalan could indeed be tried anew. But it moved quickly to assure Turks who revile him as a terrorist bent on dismembering their nation that he would not walk free.

The verdict from the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) raised fears of revived political tensions in Turkey at a delicate time as it tries to meet European Union standards on human rights before the start of EU entry talks in October.

Ocalan, sole inmate for the past six years of an island prison in the Sea of Marmara, evokes strong emotions among Turks who blame him for the deaths of more than 30,000 people during a separatist rebellion in the 1980s and 1990s, tells CNN News.

he European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkish authorities breached international treaties by denying Ocalan the right to a fair and independent trial and barring his legal representative from contacting him after he was detained. It awarded his legal representatives $154,580 for legal costs, to be paid within three months.

Ocalan's case has been problematic for the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Turkish government, which wants to live up to European human rights standards while dealing with Kurdish militants seeking autonomy. He is serving a life sentence as the sole inmate of a prison island.

The European court's rulings are binding on all 46 members of the Council of Europe, the continent's top human rights watchdog. The verdict, issued by the court's Grand Chamber, is final and cannot be appealed.

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