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UA 182/91 Fear of Torture 29 May 1991
TURKEY: Barbara Anna Kistler, Swiss Citizen
Amnesty International has received reports that Barbara Kistler, a Swiss woman,
said to be a journalist, was detained in Istanbul on 16 May 1991. She is said
to have arrived in Turkey as a tourist and to have stayed with a friend.
According to newspaper reports, eight people were detained during the
same operation, but their names are unknown. It is reported that Barbara Kistler
was taken into custody from a house which contained a weapon, ammunition and
documents relating to an illegal organization.
Despite her detention on 16 May, permission to hold her for 15 days was
only requested by the police, and granted by the Prosecutor's Office on 20
May. Barbara Kistler is held incommunicado at the First [Political] Branch
of Istanbul Police Headquarters.
The Swiss Consul, who tried to see her, was refused access and told that
he could see her only if accompanied by a Turkish lawyer. On 28 May, the Swiss
Consul and two Turkish lawyers holding power of attorney were permitted access
by the Public Prosecutor, but then denied access by police, who said that they
would not be permitted to see Barbara Kistler during the police investigations.
Following the killing of three police officers in Istanbul on or around 16
May, for which the Turkish Workers and Peasants' Liberation Army (TIKKO) claimed
responsibility, some 25 people have reportedly been detained in police
operations against TIKKO. It appears that Barbara Kistler may be one of the
detainees. In the night of 19 May the police raided a house in Istanbul and
killed a man and a woman, in circumstances suggesting that they may have been
the victims of extrajudicial execution.
In May 1990, the Turkish government issued Decrees 424 and 425 (in December
replaced by Decree 430), further extending the already extraordinary powers
of the Emergency Legislation Governor. Subsequently, 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
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.
Under current legislation the maximum detention period 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.
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