EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 44/111/92
EXTRA 89/92 Fear of Torture/Death in custody 29 October 1992
TURKEY: Mustafa Ya_ar
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