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EXTRA 89/92 - Turkey: fear of torture / death in custody: Mustafa Yasar, Metin Ozturk, Remzi Basalak

, Index number: EUR 44/111/1992

Mustafa Yasar and Metin Ozturk have been held incommunicado in Adana Police Headquarters since 23 October 1992. According to a newspaper report, they were detained after their identity cards were found on two men who had robbed the Tekel depot in Adana. The robbery is thought to have been carried out on behalf of an illegal organization. The same newspaper reported on 27 October 1992 that a fourth youth, Remzi Basalak, had been arrested after the robbery and had died in custody the same day. An autopsy found that death was due to a brain haemorrhage which the police have claimed was caused by a fall when he was being arrested. However, four lawyers in Adana have disputed this and alleged that he died under torture.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 44/111/92
Distr: UA/SC
EXTRA 89/92 Fear of Torture/Death in custody 29 October 1992
TURKEY: Mustafa Ya_ar
Metin Öztürk
Remzi Basalak
Amnesty International is concerned about the safety of Mustafa Ya_ar and Metin Öztürk.
They have both been held incommunicado at Adana Police Headquarters since 23 October
According to a newspaper report on 26 October, a clash had occurred on 23 October
between the police and four armed persons who had just robbed the Tekel (state monopoly
on tobacco and alcohol) depot in Adana. One robber, _aban Budak, was killed, while
two of the others were slightly injured and detained. They reportedly carried
identity cards in the names of Mustafa Ya_ar and Metin Öztürk. It was suspected
that the robbery had been carried out on behalf of an illegal political organization.
Mustafa Ya_ar's lawyer was refused permission to see her client on 26 October and
was told by the public prosecutor that both suspects were to be held in police custody
for seven days. It is feared that Mustafa Ya_ar and Metin Öztürk are being
interrogated under torture while in incommunicado detention at Adana Police
Headquarters and there is grave concern for their safety.
On 27 October the same newspaper reported that a fourth youth, Remzi Basalak, had
been apprehended following the robbery of 23 October and that he had died in police
custody on the evening of the same day. An autopsy revealed that his death, which
had not been reported for four days, was due to a brain haemorrhage. The police
authorities claimed that he had fallen when being apprehended and had hit his head
on the ground.
However, a press statement issued by four lawyers in Adana following the incident
alleges that Remzi Basalak was killed under torture. It stated that he had appeared
well when he was presented to the press on 23 October, shouting slogans and making
the victory sign. His family and lawyer learned of his death only four days later
when it was reported in the newspaper.
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. In August 1990, the government derogated from Articles 5,
6, 8, 10, 11 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights, all of which contain
important safeguards for human rights. Under current legislation the maximum period
a detainee may be held before being formally charged or released is 24 hours; in
cases involving three or more suspects or due to the 'nature of the crime' it may
be extended to 15 days. This period may be extended to 30 days in areas under emergency
legislation or martial law. Emergency legislation is currently in force in 10 provinces
but not in Adana.
Page 2 of EXTRA 89/92
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters in English
or in your own language:
- urging that Mustafa Ya_ar and Metin Öztürk are granted prompt access to their families
and lawyers and that they are not ill-treated while held in police custody;
- requesting to be informed of any charges brought against them;
- expressing concern about the reported death in custody in Adana of Remzi Basalak,
concealed from his family and lawyers for four days until reported in the press on
27 October 1992;
- noting that reportedly Remzi Basalak had appeared well when he was presented to
the press on the day of his death, 23 October;
- calling for an immediate, impartial and full investigation into the circumstances
of his death at Adana Police Headquarters;
- asking to be informed of its findings.
1) Minister of the Interior:
Mr _smet Sezgin Salutation: Dear Minister
_çi_leri Bakanl___
06644 Ankara, Turkey
Telegrams: Interior Minister, Ankara, Turkey
Telexes: 46369 ICSL TR
Faxes: + 90 4 418 1795
2) Prime Minister:
Mr Süleyman Demirel Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
06573 Ankara, Turkey
Telegrams: Prime Minister, Ankara, Turkey
Telexes: 44061/44062/44063 bbmt tr, 42099 basb tr, 42875 bbk tr
Faxes: + 90 4 417 04 76, + 90 4 230 88 96
3) Governor of Adana province:
Mr Bekir Aksoy Salutation: Dear Governor
Adana Valili_i
Adana, Turkey
Telegrams: Adana Valiligi, Adana, Turkey
President of the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission
_nsan Haklar_ Ara_t_rma Komisyonu Ba_kan_
Ankara, Turkey
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 8 November 1992.

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