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A Turkish politician, of Kurdish descent Zana was elected to the Turkish parliament in 1991. She was later imprisoned for 10 years for speaking Kurdish in parliament; the Turkish government declared this to be ‘anti unity’.

Whilst in prison Zana was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1995 and 1998. She was awarded the Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament, also in 1995, but was unable to collect until her release in 2004.

Zana is now back in prison, accused of supporting terrorism and treason, and is serving 15 years; the prosecutor is appealing to have the sentence increased to 50 years.

This case is against the back drop of the Kurdish Issue in Turkey; the Kurdish Parliamentary Party, the DTP, has been banned and many Kurdish politicians and activists have been forbidden from engaging in Politics for up to 5 years.

Zana has maintained throughout her career, in her speeches, writings and recently in her defense, that the solution to this conflict should be peaceful and diplomatic. In February, of this year, she was invited for an interview with the President of the European Parliament; an indication of the respect she has generated – for herself and for her cause.