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Turkey: Fear of torture

, Index number: EUR 44/066/2001

More than 20 members of HADEP were arrested by police and gendarmes on 14 September. They are now held incommunicado at the Anti-Terror branch of Mus Police Headquarters, where it is believed they are being tortured. On 15 September police brought Sirin Tas with them when they searched his home for a weapon. He was blindfolded and his hands were tightly bound. The police reportedly beat him and his family during the house search. The family believe he was tortured. Two of the detainees reportedly suffer from health problems.

PUBLIC AI Index: EUR 44/066/2001
EXTRA 65/01 Fear of torture 17 September 2001
TURKEY15 HADEP members in Varto/Mu_:
Abdulbasit Ta_, also member of Human Rights Association (IHD), Mu_ branch
_irin Ta_
Kas_m Sever
Mehdi Y_ld_r_m
Atila Aslan
Özgür Y_lmaz
Behçet Y_lmaz
Salih Özen
S_rr_ Ta_k_n
Aslan Bulak
Çetin Kaya
Behçet Özen (district head of HADEP)
Mehmet Özçelik
Ersin Çiçek
Ma_allah Bingöl
More than 20 members of the legal pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HADEP),
including the 15 people named above, were arrested by police and gendarmes
in Varto, in the southeastern province of Mu_, in the early hours of 14 September.
They are now held incommunicado at the Anti-Terror branch of Mu_ Police
Headquarters, where it is believed they are being tortured. The charges against
them are not known.
Two others arrested with them were released the same day. On 15 September at
5 or 6am police brought _irin Ta_ with them when they searched his home for
a weapon. He was blindfolded and his hands were tightly bound. The police
reportedly beat him, his mother, wife and sister during the house search. The
family believe that _irin Ta_ had been severely tortured. From what they saw
they believe that the bones in his hands were broken.
Two of the detainees reportedly suffer from health problems: Abdulbasit Ta_
has a bone disease; and Kas_m Sever is diabetic, and does not have the necessary
medicine with him. Amnesty International is concerned that prolonged
deprivation of his medicine could have grave consequences.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Police in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern region of the country
frequently arrest political dissidents on “suspicion” of offences such as
membership of illegal armed groups or aiding and abetting such groups as police
can hold such people in custody for longer than ordinary detainees. People
suspected of such offences, which fall under the jurisdiction of the State
Security Courts, can be held in police custody without access to family, friends
or legal counsel for up to four days. This may be extended by a further three
days on the orders of a prosecutor. After the maximum period detainees must
be brought before a prosecutor and a judge, who then decide whether they should
be released or remanded to prison to await trial.
In Turkish police stations, torture is regularly used to extract confessions,
elicit information about illegal organizations, intimidate detainees into
becoming police informers or as unofficial punishment for presumed support
of illegal organizations. Turkey is a state party to the European Convention
on Human Rights, Article 3 of which states that “No one shall be subjected
to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. Yet over the
2
years, Amnesty International has documented the use of several torture methods
in Turkey, including severe beatings, being stripped naked and blindfolded,
hosing with pressurized ice-cold water, suspending by the arms or wrists bound
behind the victim's back, electric shocks, beating the soles of the feet, death
threats and sexual assault.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in
English, German or your own language:
- expressing concern that the 16 people named are at risk of torture, and urging
that they are not tortured or ill-treated;
- reminding the government of its obligations as a state party to the European
Convention on Human Rights, which says that "No one shall be subjected to torture
or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment";
- urging the authorities to ensure that the detainees, especially _irin Ta_,
Abdulbasit Ta_ and Kas_m Sever, have immediate access to appropriate medical
care and the necessary medicine;
- urging that the detainees are given immediate access to a lawyer. They should
be brought before a judge and charged with a recognizably criminal offence
or released immediately.
APPEALS TO:
Minister of the Interior
Mr Rü_tü Kaz_m Yücelen
Ministry of Interior
_çi_leri Bakanl___
06644 Ankara, Turkey
Telegrams: Interior Minister, Ankara, Turkey
Fax: + 90 312 418 17 95
Salutation: Dear Minister
Mu_ Police Headquarters
Mu_ Emniyet Müdürü
Mu_ Emniyet Müdürlü_ü
Mu_, Turkey
Telegrams: Emniyetrü, Mu_, Turkey
Salutation: Dear Chief of Police
Governor of Mu_
Mu_ Valisi
Diyarbak_r, Turkey
Telegrams:Olaganustu Hal Valisi, Diyarbakir, Turkey
Faxes:+ 90 436 2120946
Salutation: Dear Governor
Chief Prosecutor of Mu_
Mu_ Cumhuriyet Ba_savc_s_
Mu_ Cuhuriyet Savc_li___
Mu_, Turkey
Telegrams: Cumhuriyet Savciligi, Mus, Turkey
Faxes:+ 90 436 212 5986
Salutation: Dear Chief Prosecutor
COPIES TO:
State Minister with responsibility for Human Rights
Nejat Arseven
3
Office of the Prime Minister,
Ba_bakanl_k,
06573 Ankara, Turkey
Fax: + 90 312 417 04 76
Salutation: Dear Minister
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 16 October 2001.

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