EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 44/48/93
EXTRA 54/93 Fear of Torture 4 June 1993
TURKEY: Mahmut Do_an, reporter for daily newspaper Özgür Gündem
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Mahmut Do_an who was detained
in the town of Bingöl on 2 June 1993.
Mahmut Do_an is the local reporter in Elaz__ for the Kurdish-owned newspaper Özgür
Gündem. He is said to have gone to Bingöl to report on a major military operation
launched by the security forces in the region against guerrillas of the illegal Kurdish
Workers' Party (PKK).
The large-scale military operation, involving land and air forces and covering several
provinces in the east and southeast under a State of Emergency, is in response to
the latest attack by PKK guerrillas. On 24 May 1993, PKK guerrillas ambushed a convoy
of soldiers some 10 kilometres from Bingöl. The soldiers were reportedly travelling
by bus and were unarmed, dressed in civilian clothes. According to reports the
guerrillas killed 31 soldiers and two civilians. This attack was the first since
the PKK declared a unilateral cease-fire on 15 March 1993. Operations by the security
forces had continued throughout this period. According to official sources at least
100 guerrillas have been killed in the operation.
It is feared that Mahmut Do_an may be subjected to torture while being held
incommunicado at the Anti-Terror Branch of Bingöl Police Headquarters.
Turkey has a Kurdish ethnic minority which is estimated to number some 10 million
people, living mainly in southeastern Turkey. Since August 1984, when PKK guerillas
started armed attacks against the security forces, more than 5,000 lives have been
lost on both sides and among the civilian population in the context of their fight
for an independent Kurdish state. In mid-March 1993 the PKK declared a unilateral
cease-fire and its intention to end the fighting and to enter the democratic process
as a political party. A state of emergency is in force in 10 provinces in the region
and the Emergency Legislation Governor in Diyarbakir has extraordinary powers over
three additional provinces.
Turkey ratified the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture on 25 February
1988 and the UN Convention Against Torture on 2 August 1988. However, all information
available to Amnesty International indicates that torture is still widespread and
systematic in Turkey. Most allegations relate to ill-treatment of detainees in police
custody during their initial interrogation when they are usually denied access to
relatives or a lawyer. New legislation to shorten the maximum detention period came
into force on 1 December 1992. Now the normal maximum period of 24 hours, for which