EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 44/89/91
UA 220/91 Fear of Torture 28 June 1991
TURKEY: Selahattin Cengiz, aged 13, disabled
Detentions of villagers are continuing in the Pervari/Siirt region of southeast Turkey
because the villagers are suspected of providing food and shelter to Kurdish guerrillas
fighting in the area (see Urgent Action 382/90, AI Index EUR 44/132/90, 21 September 1990
and follow-up EUR 44/143/91, 9 October 1990).
On 23 June 1991 the three people named above were detained by the gendarmerie in the
village of Erkent near Pervari. The village does not provide and accept so-called village
protectors and is, therefore, continually searched by the security forces. Village
protectors are villagers who are armed and paid by the authorities to fight the guerrillas.
Selahattin Cengiz is about 13 years old and has a severe curvature of the spine. His
father used to be a grocer until all grocery shops in the village were closed by the
authorities because of suspicions that provisions would be passed on to the guerrillas.
Any food or groceries coming into the village are monitored and registered at the nearby
gendarmerie post in Do_anca (accent on g). During the search of the Cengiz house, shoes
which were stock left over after closure of the shop were found. In this very rugged area,
shoes are considered by the authorities to be a particularly important necessity for the
guerrillas. As no other members of the family were at home, Selahattin Cengiz was detained
and taken to Do_anca gendarmerie station together with the other two men who had also been
detained in the village that day. They were later transferred to the Gendarmerie Headquarters
in Pervari. It is feared that they may be interrogated under torture. The security forces
are reportedly searching for another five villagers.
Turkey has a Kurdish ethnic minority which is estimated to number some 10 million people.
Any activity for a separate Kurdish political or cultural identity is punishable under
Turkish law. The Kurdish population lives mainly in southeastern Turkey. Frequent
allegations of torture and ill-treatment have been received from the region and the number
of torture allegations increased substantially after the 1980 military coup. Since August
1984, when Kurdish guerrillas - members of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) - started armed
attacks, an alarming number of reports of ill-treatment of detainees by the security forces
have come from the eastern and southeastern provinces, where more than 2000 lives so far
have been lost in the continuing fighting. A State of Emergency is in force in ten provinces
and an additional three provinces have been placed under the authority of the Emergency
Legislation Governor in Diyarbakir.
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