Jean Lambert today expressed her concern and disappointment over the decision of the Turkish authorities to sentence Leyla Zana, a prominent Kurdish human rights activist, for fifteen months. Ms Zana, who has met with the Green MEP on several occasions, was the winner of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize in 1995 for her work to improve human rights, and extend democracy and freedom of expression in Turkey.
Commenting on the announcement of Ms Zana's sentence, Jean Lambert MEP said:
"It is a sad outcome for human rights and for the Kurdish people. Leyla Zana is an inspirational figure and has tirelessly fought against intolerance and oppression. I have written to the President of the European Parliament this week to urge that everything possible is done at the EU level to support her appeal and I will continue to follow this situation closely."
Jean Lambert MEP continued:
"Leyla Zana has already served a 10 year prison sentence for speaking Kurdish in the Turkish Parliament, following her election as the first female Kurdish MP. Even now, the use of the Kurdish language is still banned in public places despite pressure from the EU to reform human rights law and comply with the Copenhagen criteria.
"I support Ms Zana's calls for the need for dialogue and a political solution to the conflict. I hope that she will win her new appeal against this sentence so that she can continue her work towards a peaceful solution for Turkey and a better situation for the Kurdish community."