Alert Türkiye: Jailed, a woman human rights activist tells her story (video)
Türkiye
28.10.03
Urgent Interventions

Turkey: Follow up to case of Ms. Gulbahar Gunduz

Case TUR 170603.1VAW
Follow-up to Case TUR 170603VAW
Violence against Women/Rape/Due Diligence


The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Turkey.

New Information

The International Secretariat of OMCT has received updated information from a reliable source concerning the rape and torture of Ms. Gülbahar Gündüz an executive member of the Women’s Section of DEHAP Istanbul, a political party in Turkey.

According to the information received, legal and administrative institutions began two separate investigations on the case. The Istanbul Security Directorate lifted the administrative investigation about claims by Gülbahar Gündüz, who says she was raped by men who claimed to be civilian police officers. The Security Directorate stated that the reason for lifting the investigation was that "no security official is in the position of defendant."

It is reported that this decision is against the law and was politically motivated and that fake documents were prepared about the incident.

OMCT is concerned that the lifting of the administrative investigation results may constitute a lack of due diligence on the part of the government of Turkey to adequately investigate, prosecute and punish state-sponsored violence against women.

Brief reminder of the situation

On June 14, 2003 at 9:00 a.m. Ms. Gündüz was abducted from the street by four men and was blindfolded. While the abduction was taking place, Ms Gündüz claims to have heard a person on the street tell her abductors to leave her alone, and the men responded by identifying themselves as police officers.

The information received from the Human Rights Association indicated that Ms. Gündüz was taken to a dark room where she remained blindfolded while she was interrogated and tortured. She claims that the men told her that she should not be leading political activities because she is a woman and that this would be a lesson to her. The men reportedly beat her with a steel rod between her legs, tore the skin on her back, and put out cigarettes on her cheek, all injuries verified by the doctor’s report. Ms. Gündüz also claims that one of the men forced his penis into her mouth. Twelve hours later, Ms. Gündüz was reportedly pushed from a moving car out onto the street near Gaziosmanpasa, a part of Istanbul. Police are currently denying that this event occurred.

OMCT continues to be gravely concerned for the psychological and physical integrity of Ms. Gündüz and calls on the government of Turkey to ensure an effective, impartial investigation into these allegations. OMCT is also deeply troubled by the sex-specific nature of the torture and the targeting of women political activists because they are women, and would like to highlight that it has received other reports of torture of women, as detailed in OMCT’s recent alternative report on violence against women in Turkey to the Committee Against Torture. OMCT recalls that Turkey is a State Party to international instruments that prohibit and punish torture and violence against women, including the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Action requested

The International Secretariat of OMCT asks you to keep up writing to the authorities in Turkey urging them to:

i. guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Gülbahar Gündüz;
ii. ensure an immediate, impartial investigation of the allegations of torture and rape arising from the incident on June 14, 2003, and ensure the prosecution and punishment of those found responsible in front of an impartial tribunal;
iii. guarantee adequate reparation and protection from future attacks for Ms. Gündüz;
iv. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout Turkey in accordance with international human rights standards.

Addresses

· Mr Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of the Turkish Republic, Cumhur Baskanligi, 06 100, Ankara / Turkey, Fax: 00 90312 427 1330
· Minister of the Interior, Mr Abdulkadir Aksu, Ministry of Interior, Icisleri Bakanligi, 06644 Ankara, Turkey, Fax: + 90 312 418 17 95
· Minister of Justice, Mr Cemil €icek, Ministry of Justice, Adalet Bakanligi, 06659 Ankara, Turkey, Fax: + 90 312 418 5667
· State Minister with responsibility for Human Rights, Mr Ertugrul Yalcinbayir, Office of the Prime Minister, Basbakanlik, 06573 Ankara, Turkey, Fax: + 90 312 417 04 76
· Ambassadeur, Sungar, Murat, Ch. du Petit-Saconnex 28b - CP 271, CH-1211, Genève 19, Suisse, e-mail : mission.turkey@ties.itu.int, fax: +4122 734 08 59

Please also write to the embassies of Turkey in your respective country.

Geneva, October 28, 2003

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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