Document - EXTRA 79/94 - Turkey: fear of torture: Zeynep Firat, Munevver Kuv
EXTERNAL (for general distribution)AI Index: EUR 44/155/94
EXTRA 79/94Fear of Torture20 December 1994
TURKEYZeynep Fırat (f) lawyer, member of Istanbul Bar Association
Münevver Kuv (f)
Lawyer Zeynep Fırat is in custody in Istanbul Police Headquarters. Fears for her safety have been greatly heightened by her claims that she was severely beaten on arrest and that she has already been tortured. Münevver Kuv, the client whom Zeynep Fırat was going to see at the time of her arrest, has also been detained and is feared to be at risk of torture in incommunicado detention.
On 16 December 1994, Zeynep Fırat left the offices of the People's Law Bureau in the Fındıkzade area of Istanbul where she works, to meet Münevver Kuv, but was detained by plainclothes police in the street. The police initially denied holding her, but following intervention from the Istanbul Bar Association, her detention at Istanbul Police Headquarters was confirmed. The Istanbul State Security Court Prosecutor has given permission for Zeynep Fırat to be held for a further 13 days. She has not yet been charged with any crime, but the prosecutor is reported to have said that she is suspected of organizing a meeting with the illegal organization, Devrimci Sol (Revolutionary Left).
At a brief interview in Istanbul Police Headquarters with another People's Law Bureau lawyer, Zeynep Fırat stated that she was severely beaten when she was arrested, and that she had been tortured in Police Headquarters by being hung by her arms with her wrists tied behind her back. The lawyer also noted that Zeynep Fırat had lost the use of her right arm as a result of torture.
Münevver Kuv, who was previously imprisoned in Bayrampaşa, Istanbul, between 1990 and 1994, charged with membership of Devrimci Sol, has been denied any access to a lawyer. She is also being held at Istanbul Police Headquarters.
The illegal armed organization Devrimci Sol (Revolutionary Left) has accepted responsibility for dozens of political killings, including those of high ranking military and security personnel. Since May 1991, more than 50 suspected members of Devrimci Sol have been killed by the police in raids on "safe houses", the majority in Istanbul and Ankara. Any person suspected of links with the organization and taken into detention is at grave risk of torture during interrogation.
Under Article 40 of the Law on Legal Representation, investigation of any crime suspected of being committed by a lawyer in the course of their professional duty is subject to permission by the Ministry of Justice and should be carried out by an authority appointed by the Ministry.
Circular 46 issued by the Ministry of Justice on 27 June 1970, and another circular of 27 March 1971 state that, because of issues of professional confidence, investigation of crimes committed during their activities as lawyers, and also personal crimes, should not be left to the police, but should be carried out directly by the public prosecutor and his assistants.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters either in English or in your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of Zeynep Fırat and Münevver Kuv, who are being interrogated in Istanbul Police Headquarters;
- asking that the lawyer Zeynep Fırat be questioned by a prosecutor, as laid down in Turkish law;
- asking that both detainees be given prompt access to family and legal counsel;
- expressing concern at Zeynep Fırat's allegations that she was beaten on arrest, and that she has been tortured in police custody, and calling for these allegations to be thoroughly and independently investigated;
- seeking assurances that the two detainees are now not being subjected to torture or any other form of ill-treatment;
- urging that they be brought promptly before a judge;
- asking to be informed of the charges brought against them.
1) Chief Prosecutor at Istanbul State Security Court
Devlet Güvenlik Mahkemesi
Telegrams: DGM Başsavcısı, İstanbul, Turkey
Salutation: Dear Sir
2) Minister of Justice:
Mr Mehmet Moğultay
06659 Ankara, Turkey
Telegrams: Justice Minister, Ankara, Turkey
Faxes: +90 312 425 4066
Salutation: Dear Minister
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
President of the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission:
Mr Sabri Yavuz
İnsan Hakları Araştırma Komisyonu Başkanı
Faxes: +90 312 420 5394
and to diplomatic representatives of Turkey accredited to your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 20 January 1995.