Peaceful struggle for the human rights of the Kurdish people
The 1994 Rafto Prize was awarded to Leyla Zana (1961), a Kurdish parliamentarian incarcerated for her peaceful struggle for the human rights of the Kurdish people in Turkey and the neighbouring countries.
Leyla Zana symbolizes the struggle for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish conflict in Turkey. Leyla Zana was on trial in Turkey and risking capital punishment when the 1994 Rafto Prize was awarded to her. Zana was sentenced to 15 years in a Turkish prison, and a military court later sentenced her to another two years in prison.
Throughout her imprisonment, she has maintained a strong stand against all violence. Leyla Zana was released from prison in 2004. She is active in human rights issues in Turkey and working for the new party she co-founded in 2005.