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Turkey
28.03.01
Urgent Interventions

Turkey: no progress during new hearing

URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY

TUR 003/9910/OBS 065.1
no progress during new hearing
TURKEY
28 march 2001

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint program of FIDH and OMCT, has received new information regarding the following situation in Turkey.

New Information

The Observatory has been informed by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) that no progress has been made during a new hearing in Turkey on fourteen persons including Günseli Kaya, Secretary of the HRFT Izmir Representation Office, and Dr. Alp Ayan, psychiatrist of the same organisation, all accused of “violating the law on meetings and demonstrations”.

According to the information received, on 27 March 2001, the 9th hearing of a trial was held at the Alia'a Penal Court of First Instance, at 10:00 a.m. At this hearing, there was no progress in the course of the case. The court decided to adjourn the hearing so as to hear the testimonies of witnesses who had not yet been heard. The next hearing of this trial will be held on 24 May 2001, at 10.30 a.m.

Brief reminder of the situation

Günseli Kaya, teacher and Secretary of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) office in Izmir, and Doctor Alp Ayan, psychiatrist from the HRFT’s Rehabilitation of the Victims of Torture Centre - both members of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD) - were among the people arrested on 30 September 1999 in Izmir as they were on their way to the village of Helvaci to attend the funeral of one of the victims of the massacre of prisoners in Ankara Central Prison on 26 September. On 3 October, after the hearing before the Criminal Court of Izmir (SSC), they were charged, along with 12 other people, on the basis of article 32 par. 3 of the law on meetings and demonstrations, which provides for a prison sentence of 3 to 5 years for, “coercion, violence, threat, assault or resistance” to a police decision forbidding a meeting, and of article 7 par. 2 of the anti-terror law, which provides for a prison sentence of 1 to 5 years against people who, “help the members of a terrorist organisation and disseminate propaganda on its behalf”. Hearings have since then followed one another (February, April, June, July, September, November and January 2001). The Observatory, together with Collectif Turquie (Association Primo Levi, Amnesty International, France Libertés, ACAT, Médecins du Monde, Juristes Sans Frontières, Trèves, FIDH and OMCT) commissioned observers for the last three hearings.

Actions requested

Please write to the authorities in Turkey urging them to:


1. put an end to any kind of harassment of human rights NGOs and all defenders of democracy in the country, and ensure that they be allowed to carry out their work without hinderance;
2. guarantee that all accused persons, among them Günseli Kaya and Dr. Alp Ayan, be granted a fair trial;
3. drop all charges against the above mentioned persons;
4. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards;
5. abide by the provisions of the Declaration on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders adopted on the 9th of December 1998, by the U.N. General Assembly (“Declaration on the right and responsibility of individuals, groups and organs of society to promote and protect universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms”), particularly, Article 1 (see above) and Article 6.c which mandates that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters”.


Addresses

Minister of Interior, Mr Saadettin Tantan, Içisleri Bakanligi, 06644 Ankara, Turkey.
Fax: + 90 312 418 17 95.

Minister of Justice, Prof Hikmet Sami Türk, Ministry of Justice, Adalet Bakanligi, 06659 Ankara, Turkey.
Fax: + 90 312 417 3954 / 418 5667

State Minister with responsibility for Human Rights, Mr Rüstü Kazim Yücelen, Office of the Prime Minister, Basbakanlik, 06573 Ankara, Turkey. Fax: + 90 312 417 0476

Geneva, March 28, 2001

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