PUBLIC AI Index: EUR 44/35/98
EXTRA 55/98 Fear of torture or ill-treatment / Medical
concern 13 August 1998
TURKEY Yavuz Binbay, Kurd, aged 42, human rights worker
Amnesty International is concerned for the health and safety of Yavuz Binbay
who was detained in Diyarbak_r on 11 August 1998 and is being held incommunicado
at the Anti-Terror Branch of Diyarbak_r Police Headquarters. He has reportedly
been refused regular medication he requires for a chest complaint. It is also
feared he may be tortured or ill-treated.
Yavuz Binbay was detained at Yeni_ehir Police Station in Diyarbak_r after he
had gone there with his lawyer to make a statement regarding a traffic accident.
His detention was carried out by officers of the Anti-Terror Branch who arrived
at the station and took him to Diyarbak_r Police Headquarters. His lawyer,
who subsequently appealed to the prosecutor’s office to gain access to Yavuz
Binbay, has been informed that this cannot be granted until after four days.
At the time of his arrest Yavuz Binbay asked his lawyer to ensure that his
regular medication be brought to him. However, when his family took it to
the police headquarters they were told that Yavuz Binbay had said he did not
need it. Yavuz Binbay is in general poor health and on medication for a number
of complaints including chest problems.
Yavuz Binbay, formerly from Van in eastern Turkey where he was president of
the local branch of the Turkish Human Rights Association, has been the subject
of several previous Urgent Actions.
In March 1992 Yavuz Binbay suffered life-threatening injuries after he was
severely beaten by police in Van city for his attempts to mediate in a public
disturbance. Following this assault he was admitted to intensive care with
a total of six skull fractures and a crack in the orbit of his eye. While
in intensive car he had a series of heart attacks and required emergency surgery
to remove blood clots. On his release from hospital he was immediately
imprisoned, despite his poor state of health, and put on trial for collective
criminal damage, unlawful demonstrations, separatist propaganda and resisting
arrest. He continues to suffer chest and back pains and shortness of breath.
After his release he was subject to ongoing death threats.
In January 1994 he was again detained but released the following day as a result
of intense international pressure. He subsequently sought political asylum
and medical treatment in Switzerland but returned to Turkey in 1997 to set
up the Insan_ Yard_m ve Kalk_nma Vakf_ (IYKAV) Humanitarian Aid and Regeneration
Foundation. This aims to create employment, education, housing and medical
care for Kurdish villagers who have been forcibly evacuated from their villages.
People suspected of offences under Turkey’s Anti-Terror Law can be held in
police custody without access to family, friends or legal counsel for up to
four days. The detention period may be increased to 10 days in the six provinces
currently under State of Emergency, including Diyarbakir, and to seven days
in the rest of Turkey. After the fourth day the law requires that detainees
have access to a lawyer, but this has not been consistently observed in practice.