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Turkey: further information on: possible "disappearance" / fear for safety

, Index number: EUR 44/009/1996

Osman Kundes, Kurdish trade unionist, father of six; new names: Halit Aydin, dental technician, Selahattin Yasak, teacher, Sakir Tanrikulu, Ahmet Gunbati, Ekrem Sasmaz, Halit Teymur, Arif Gezici: on 12 January the above were set free. This is the first case in Turkey where "disappeared" people have re-emerged alive after such a long period - almost a year- in captivity.

EXTERNAL AI Index: EUR 44/09/96
18 January 1996
Further information on UA 38/95 (EUR 44/32/95, 15 February 1995) - Possible
"disappearance" / Fear for safety
TURKEYOsman Künde_, Kurdish trade unionist, father of six
new names: Halit Ayd_n, dental technician
Selahattin Yasak, teacher
_akir Tanr_kulu
Ahmet Günbat_
Ekrem _a_maz
Halit Teymur
Arif Gezici
On 12 January 1996 Osman Künde_, president of the Municipal Workers Union in
Batman, and the seven people named above, who had been abducted by unknown
persons in Batman during January and February 1995, were set free. This is
the first case in Turkey where "disappeared" people have re-emerged alive after
such a long period - almost a year - in captivity.
According to a newspaper report they had been held in specially prepared
basements of houses in Batman and were freed in the course of police operations
in Batman against the Hizbullah organization. During these operations some
30 people were detained, suspected of being Hizbullah members and having
committed numerous murders.
Almost one year ago, on 6 February 1995, Osman Künde_ came home from his office
in his trade union car. His 16-year-old son saw him arrive and went outside
to greet his father. The son then witnessed two men aged between 20 and 25
approach his father and ask him to come with them on some urgent business.
Osman Künde_ told them that he was hungry, as it was Ramazan, the fasting month,
and would prefer to talk after the evening meal or better still the following
day, but they insisted that it was urgent. So Osman Künde_ asked his son to
come with them. The son went briefly inside the house to get his coat, but
minutes later, when he came back outside, his father and the two men had gone.
A woman who had observed the scene, later told that she saw Osman Künde_ sitting
in the front passenger seat of his trade union car, while one of the men drove
and the other sat in the back. A second car was following. The trade union
car was found abandoned the following day about 70 kilometres away on the road
between Batman and Kozluk.
Osman Künde_'s wife later reported that someone had telephoned her a few days
after her husband's "disappearance", saying: "He is in the hands of the Muslims"
(meaning the Hizbullah).
The Hizbullah referred to here is not linked to the Lebanon-based Hizbullah,
but is a shadowy organization established in Batman in 1987 and divided between
two wings - the Ilim and the Menzil. Many political killings have been attributed
to the Ilim wing. Relatives of "disappeared" people have told Amnesty
International that they believe that Hizbullah is acting in collusion with
the security forces.
There have been several waves of arrests of Hizbullah members from both wings,
and trials opened against some of these. After receiving several reports that
detained Hizbullah suspects were being released without prosecution, Amnesty
2
International repeatedly wrote to the Turkish Government asking for information
about the progress of these prosecutions, but received no reply. In one important
case, however, that of Kurdish member of parliament Mehmet Sincar, killed in
the heavily policed city of Batman in broad daylight in 1987, it later emerged
that of 15 suspects detained, "three confessed to having participated in the
killing [of Mehmet Sincar] together with two others, all presumed to be members
of the radical illegal organization which calls itself Hizbullah", according
to the Turkish Embassy in Madrid in December 1993. Only in 1995 a report issued
by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) revealed that according to the Turkish
Ministry of Justice "all those originally detained for the killing were
acquitted in November 1994 for lack of evidence".
Amnesty International believes that there are grounds for fears that such
arrests and prosecutions are carried out for the sake of appearance rather
than as a serious legal measure against armed groups such as Hizbullah,
implicated in the killing and "disappearance" of political opponents of the
government.
Amnesty International will continue to investigate the circumstances
surrounding Osman Künde_'s "disappearance", but no further action by the Urgent
Action Network is required on this case. Thanks all those who sent appeals
on behalf of Osman Künde_.

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