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UA 410/93 - Turkey: death penalty: Seyfettin Uzundiz (includes correction)

, رقم الوثيقة: EUR 44/111/1993

There is serious concern at reports that for the first time in over nine years the Judicial Commission of the Turkish parliament on 17 November approved a death sentence. This would open the way for what would be the first execution in Western Europe in over nine years. Seyfettin Uzundiz was reportedly convicted in 1992 by a criminal court in Istanbul of murder and armed robbery. His file will now be sent to the plenary of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM - parliament) for approval, which requires a simple majority. Execution is by hanging and may be carried out immediately the death sentence has been ratified.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 44/111/93
Distr: UA/SC
UA 410/93 Death Penalty 19 November 1993
TURKEY Seyfettin Uzundiz
Amnesty International is most seriously concerned about reports that for the
first time in over nine years the Judicial Commission of the Turkish parliament
has approved a death sentence. This move opens the way for what would be the
first execution in Western Europe in over nine years.
On 17 November 1993, nine out of 15 members of the Judicial Commission (Adalet
Komisyonu) approved the death sentence of Seyfettin Uzundiz. The other six
members of the Commission were absent. Reportedly Seyfettin Uzundiz was
convicted in 1992 by a criminal court in Istanbul of murder and armed robbery.
His file will now be sent to the plenary of the Turkish Grand National Assembly
(TBMM - parliament) for approval, which requires a simple majority. Execution
is by hanging and may be carried out immediately the death sentence has been
ratified by parliament.
This latest development must be seen in the context of the "total war" which
the Turkish state and its security forces have declared on the guerrillas of
the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) fighting initially for an independent
Kurdish state and more recently for some degree of Kurdish autonomy. Armed
activities by the guerrillas have steadily increased since they carried out
their first attack in 1984 and so has the response by the security forces,
leading to the loss of more than 10,000 lives and an equally steady increase
in human rights abuses by both sides. In July 1993, the Turkish Government
declared all-out war on the Kurdish insurgents in the southeast where 10
provinces have been under emergency rule since Martial Law was lifted there
in 1987. Hundreds of Kurdish people are standing trial in State Security Courts,
accused of belonging to, or supporting, the PKK, and a number of death sentences
have been handed down in recent months as the first of these trials came to
an end. Many more can be expected to be imposed, and the State Prosecutor in
Ankara is currently seeking to have the immunity of 17 Kurdish members of
parliament lifted so that they can also be tried on charges of separatism,
under Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code, which on conviction carries a
mandatory death sentence.
In the present political climate, the lobby in favour of the death penalty
in Turkey is very vocal and public opinion is moving in the same direction.
The Prosecutor at Ankara State Security Court, which tries political offences,
recently stated that in his opinion all death sentences should be carried out.
It appears that ratification of the death sentence of an ordinary criminal
may serve to clear the way for executions of people convicted of politically
motivated offences.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
2
The last executions in Turkey in October 1984 provoked an international outcry.
Since then there has been a de facto moratorium on executions, as the Grand
National Assembly did not vote on any death sentences brought before it for
ratification. However, death sentences continued to be imposed. An earlier
de facto moratorium from 1972 to 1980 was brought to an end when, following
the military coup of 1980, a total of 50 people were executed: 23 of them had
been convicted of ordinary crimes and 27 of politically related offences.
Under the Anti-Terror Law, passed in April 1991, hundreds of pending death
sentences were commuted to terms of imprisonment. In November 1990, the Grand
National Assembly ratified amendments to the penal code which reduced the number
of offences punishable by death from 29 to 13. These include separatist offences
under Article 125 and a number of other offences against the state or the
constitution, as well as ordinary criminal offences including murder.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in English or in your own language:
- expressing your profound disquiet about the approval by the Parliamentary
Judicial Commission of the death sentence of Seyfettin Uzundiz;
- noting that if this death sentence were carried out in Turkey, it would be
the first execution in over nine years in Western Europe and a severe setback
for human rights;
- drawing attention to strong abolitionist trends in Europe, in particular
the fact that a draft bill is now before the Greek parliament for the abolition
of the death penalty in Greece;
- urging that Seyfettin Uzundiz not be executed and that no further death
sentences be approved by the Judicial Commission;
APPEALS TO
1) Minister of Justice:
Mr Seyfi Oktay
Ministry of Justice
Adalet Bakanl___
06659 Ankara
Telegrams: Adalet Bakanligi, Ankara, Turkey
Faxes: +90 312 425 40 66
Salutation: Dear Minister
2) Prime Minister:
Mrs Tansu Çiller
Ba_bakanl_k
06573 Ankara, Turkey
Telegrams: Prime Minister, Ankara, Turkey
Telex: 44061/44062/44063 bbmt tr; 42099 basb tr; 42875 bbk tr
Faxes: +90 312 417 04 76 PRIME MINISTER
+90 312 230 88 96 (attn: Prime Minister)
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
3) Deputy Prime Minister:
Mr Murat Karayalçin
Ba_bakanl_k
06573 Ankara, Turkey
Telegrams: Deputy Prime Minister, Ankara, Turkey
Telexes: 44061/44062/44063 bbmt tr; 42099 basb tr; 42875 bbk tr
Faxes: +90 312 417 0476 DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER
3
+90 312 230 8896 (attn: Deputy Prime Minister)
Salutation: Dear Deputy Prime Minister
4) President of the Judicial Commission:
Mr Cemal _ahin
Adalet Komisyonu Ba_kan_
TBMM, Ankara, Turkey
Telegrams: Adalet Komisyonu, TBMM, Ankara, Turkey
Faxes: + 90 312 418 7601; +90 312 419 1664 (Attn: Adalet Komisyonu Ba_kan_)
Salutation: Dear Sir
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Minister of Foreign Affairs:
Mr Hikmet Çetin
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
D__i_leri Bakanl___
06100 Ankara, Turkey
Faxes: 90 312 287 3869
and to diplomatic representatives of Turkey accredited to your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 31 December 1993.

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