PUBLIC AI Index: EUR 44/47/00
UA 294/00 Fear of torture or ill-treatment 25 September 2000
A. Rezzak Inan
M. Temel Kurar
Eleven men have been detained by gendarmerie in southeastern Turkey and are
being held in __rnak Provincial Gendarmerie Command. It is feared that they
are at risk of torture or ill-treatment.
The men named above were detained at the Düzova village gendarmerie checkpoint
on the road between Idil and Cizre in south-east Turkey on 23 September at
about 6.30pm as they were returning home to __rnak from a party congress in
Batman. They are all on the board of the __rnak People’s Democracy Party (HADEP).
HADEP has recently resumed its activities in __rnak after being inactive for
a number of years due to persecution and a climate of fear. Widespread human
rights violations have been reported in the predominantly Kurdish region of
__rnak in the past and continue to take place. HADEP party officials in a small
town near _irnak were recently detained briefly and threatened that if they
did not stop their party activities, they would be detained and subjected to
other forms of pressure.
In Turkey, Kurdish legal political parties have been faced with daily harassment
by the authorities, and some have been closed while others have been threatened
with closure. Their supporters and members have been tortured, have
"disappeared" or have even been killed.
HADEP is the successor to two previous parties that were both closed for
“separatism” by the authorities. Although it opposes the use of political
violence, in some quarters the party is regarded as the "political wing" of
the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), an armed opposition group. The
Constitutional Court is currently considering a request by the State Security
Court Prosecutor to ban HADEP on the grounds that it is the "lengthened arm
of the PKK". Although 37 local councils in the predominantly Kurdish
southeastern area of Turkey elected HADEP mayors by an overwhelming majority
in 1999, HADEP deputies did not enter parliament because of a rule that political
parties must have at least 10% of the entire national vote to be represented.
HADEP continues to come under pressure and a number of incidents have been
reported this year. In February 18 senior HADEP officials, including the
chairman and his predecessor, were sentenced to terms of imprisonment for
"aiding and abetting" the PKK. Also in February, three HADEP mayors in southeast
Turkey, including Feridun Çelik mayor of Diyarbak_r, were detained for nine
days (see UA 45/00, EUR 44/08/00, 22 February 2000). They were allegedly tortured