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EXTRA 54/93 - Turkey: fear of torture: Mahmut Dogan

, Index number: EUR 44/048/1993

Mahmut Dogan, the local reporter in Elazig for the Kurdish-owned newspaper Ozgur Gundem, was detained in the town of Bingol on 2 June 1993. He is said to have gone to Bingol to report on a major military operation launched by the security forces in the region against guerrillas of the illegal Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK). It is feared that Mahmut Dogan may be subjected to torture while being held incommunicado at the Anti-Terror Branch of Bingol Police Headquarters

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 44/48/93
Distr: UA/SC
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.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
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
a non-political detainee may be held before being formally charged or released, may
be extended to eight days in cases of ordinary crimes involving three or more suspects.
Detainees held on suspicion of political offences to be tried in State Security Courts
may be held without charge for 15 days. This period may be extended to 30 days in
provinces under emergency legislation or martial law. Emergency legislation is
currently in force in Bingöl province.
Following three visits to Turkey to investigate allegations of torture the European
Committee for the Prevention of Torture (ECPT) of the Council of Europe published
in December 1992 for the first time its findings. The ECPT concluded
Page 2 of EXTRA 54/93
"that the practice of torture and other forms of severe ill-treatment or persons
in police custody remains widespread in Turkey and that such methods are applied
to both ordinary criminal suspects and persons held under anti-terrorist provisions".
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters
either in English or in your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of Mahmut Do_an held since 2 June 1993 at the
Anti-Terror Branch of Bingöl Police Headquarters;
- noting the findings of the ECPT regarding the practice of torture in Turkey as
published in its December 1992 report;
- seeking assurances that Mahmut Do_an is not subjected to torture or any other form
of ill-treatment;
- requesting to be informed of any charges brought against him.
APPEALS TO
1) Bingöl Chief of Police:
Mr Kemal _skender
Bingöl Emniyet Müdürü
Bingöl, Turkey
Telegrams: Emniyet Mudurlugu, Bingol, Turkey
Salutation: Dear Sir
2) President Süleyman Demirel:
Office of the President
Devlet Ba_kanl___
06100 Ankara, Turkey
Telegrams: President Demirel, Ankara, Turkey
Telexes: 42303 kosk tr
Salutation: Your Excellency
3) Minister of the Interior:
Mr _smet Sezgin
_çi_leri Bakanl___
06644 Ankara, Turkey
Telegrams: Interior Minister, Ankara, Turkey
Telexes: 46369 ICSL TR
Faxes: + 90 4 418 1795
Salutation: Dear Minister
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
President of the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission:
Mr Sabri Yavuz
_nsan Haklar_ Ara_t_rma Komisyonu Ba_kan_
TBMM
Ankara, Turkey
Faxes: + 90 4 420 5394
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 2 July 1993.

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