PKK case dismissed in Dutch court
The district court in Den Bosch on Wednesday dismissed terrorism charges against 16 alleged members of the militant Kurdish separatist movement PKK.
The 16 were among dozens of people arrested at suspected training camp in the south of the country in 2004.
The public prosecution department had accused the group of being members of a criminal organisation which was planning to commit terrorist acts.
Defence lawyers had asked for their release because important witnesses in Turkey could not be interviewed by Dutch attorneys. These witnesses included former PKK militants and Turkish government officials.
Despite pressure from the Dutch authorities, Turkey would allow only written questions from Dutch lawyers. The court said this meant no fair trial could be held. It remains unclear why the Turkish authorities were unwilling to cooperate with face to face interviews.
An ongoing investigation into the PKK presence in the Netherlands accelerated in 2004 when 39 suspects were arrested at a farm which was said to be a training camp. Over half of the cases have been dismissed so far.
The PKK has been fighting for a Kurdish homeland in south-east Turkey for over 20 years. Over 30,000 people, mostly ethnic Kurds, have been killed in the conflict.
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