EXTERNAL AI Index: EUR 44/168/96
EXTRA 166/96 Fear of "disappearance" / Fear of torture 29 October 1996
TURKEYFatma Turunç (f), mother of three
Kanber Turunç, husband of Fatma, aged 40+
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Fatma and Kanber Turunç,
a Kurdish married couple from Gaziantep.
Kanber Turunç, a street seller, has not been seen since 15 October 1996 when
he failed to return home in the evening after the day's business. Ten days
later, on 25 October at 1am, some 10 police officers reportedly came to the
Turunç's home in Gaziantep and detained Fatma in front of her three children
(aged one and a half, seven and 10), now left with a relative.
When Fatma's father-in-law went to the police to inquire about her detention,
a police officer asked him "What relation is Kanber to you?". He replied, "He
is my son - is he being held?" The answer was, "No, we know nothing about
him". Fatma's detention has been unofficially acknowledged by the police who
have accepted food on her behalf brought for her by the family. Under current
legislation she may be held for 15 days before being charged or released.
People suspected of offences under the Anti-Terror Law can be held in police
custody without access to family, friends or legal counsel for up to 30 days
in the 10 provinces under State of Emergency, and for 15 days in the rest of
Turkey. When not being interrogated, detainees are held in cramped, airless
and insanitary conditions. With no access to the outside world they are at
the mercy of their interrogators. Torture is often applied to extract
confessions, to elicit information about illegal organizations, to intimidate
detainees into becoming police informers or as informal punishment for presumed
support of illegal organizations. Torture methods include being stripped naked
and blindfolded, hosing with pressurized ice-cold water, hanging by the arms
or wrists bound behind the victim's back, electric shocks, beating the soles
of the feet, death threats and sexual assault.
Procedures laid down in the Turkish Criminal Procedure Code for the prompt
and proper registration of detainees, and for notification of their families,
are almost universally ignored. Lack of prompt registration and notification
is extremely distressing for the families of detainees, and creates the
conditions in which "disappearances" and torture can occur.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in English or your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of Kanber Turunç who has been missing in
Gaziantep since 15 October and is believed to be held in unacknowledged police
custody, and of his wife Fatma, detained 10 days later at their home;
- calling for an immediate investigation into the whereabouts of Kanber Turunç
and for his family and lawyer to be promptly informed of the results;
- seeking assurances that Fatma Turunç, held at the Anti-Terror Branch of
Gaziantep Police Headquarters will not be subjected to torture or any other
form of ill-treatment;
- asking to be informed of any charges brought against her.