EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 44/20/91
UA 48/91 Fear of Torture 12 February 1991
TURKEY: Emel At_c_ (f)
Zeki Tombak, editor-in-chief of Hedef (Target)
Erdo_an Ergin, working for Hedef
Salih Koç, also working for Hedef
On 9 February 1991 the five people named above were detained in Istanbul. The
circumstances of their detention are not known. They are reported to be held
incommunicado at Istanbul Police Headquarters and it is feared that they are
being interrogated under torture.
Mehmet Güne_ is said to have been detained and severely tortured in 1982
and to have suffered ill-health as a consequence.
The political magazine Hedef started publication at the end of 1988 and
most issues have been confiscated. Between May and December 1990 the magazine
could not appear because printing houses were refusing to print publications
which contained articles about the situation in the southeastern provinces
under a state of emergency. This was the result of a government decree issued
in April 1990 which severely curtailed reporting of events in the southeast.
The decree was modified in December 1990 and in January another issue of Hedef
could appear. Several of its editors and owners have been detained in the past
and put on trial for alleged membership of an illegal organization. Those
detained, most recently in April 1990, alleged having suffered severe torture
while in police custody.
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. Allegations of torture have continued
since the transfer of power to a civilian government in 1983. 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. This period
may be extended to 30 days in areas under emergency legislation or martial
law. Emergency legislation is currently in force in ten provinces in the
southeast of Turkey.
In August 1990, the Turkish 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.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/express and airmail letters:
- urging that the five detainees named above are given prompt access to their
families and lawyers and that they are not ill-treated while in detention;
- requesting to be informed of any charges against them.