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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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Press Release: 1 May 1997

Disappearance case declared admissible

On the 7th of April the European Commission declared the case of Salih ORHAN v Turkey (Appl. No. 25656/94) admissible. The case concerns the "disappearance" of the applicant's son and two brothers while in the custody of Turkish security forces in April 1994. He also complains of the burning of his village.

According to the applicant, on the 6 May 1994 Turkish soldiers destroyed his home and property in the village of Adrok in the Kulp district of Diyarbakir. Later that month, when some soldiers arrived again at the village all of the villagers except Salih ORHAN, and Hasan ORHAN, the applicant's two brothers and Cezayir ORHAN, the applicant's son, went into hiding. The soldiers instructed these men to accompany them and later that day they were seen in a nearby village, still in the custody of the soldiers. The applicant has not seen or heard from his son and brothers since that day. He subsequently, heard from an eye witness who had seen the applicant's two brothers in detention at a school taken over by the security forces in Lice. When last seen, they were reportedly "in a bad way". Since the disappearance of his brothers and son the applicant has applied repeatedly to the Turkish authorities for information regarding their fate.

The applicant alleges violations of articles 3 (prohibition on torture and inhuman and degrading treatment), 5 (right to liberty and security), 8 (right to home and family life), Article 13 (right to effective remedies), 14 (discrimination on the grounds of their Kurdish origin), Article 18 (abuse of power) and Article 1 of Protocol 1 (right to property).

The government alleges that the three men were never taken into custody by the security forces in May 1994. Furthermore, the government alleged that the applicant had not intended to bring a case before the European Commission. The Commission however found that there was no evidence to substantiate this claim and, finding that the applicant did not have effective remedies at his disposal, declared the case admissible.

Next, the Commission will consider the merits of this case prepare an article 31 report.

DEP case heard by the European Court of Human Rights

On the 25 April 1997 the European Court of Human Rights heard in the case of SAKIK and others v Turkey. The case centres on the detention of six members of parliament, representing the pro- Kurdish Democracy Party (DEP) in March 1994.

On the 2nd and 4th of March 1994, following the lifting of their parliamentary immunity the six MPs were taken into custody for periods ranging between 12 and 14 days. Subsequently, on the 8th of December 1994, the National Security Court sentenced two of the MP s to three years and six months' imprisonment for separatist propaganda under Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. Leyla ZANA, Hatip DICLE, Selim SADAK and Orhan DOGAN were sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment for membership in the PKK (Article 168 of the Criminal Code).

Following unsuccessful appeals in Turkey the MP s lodged a number of applications with the European Commission of Human Rights. The Commission drew up a report in the first of these case in May 1996. It expressed the unanimous opinion Turkey was in violation of Article 5(3) (right to be brought promptly before a judge), 5(4) (right to challenge the legality of detention) and 5(5) (right to compensation).

Last Friday this case was heard before a chamber of nine judges at the European Court of Human Rights. It may, however, be some months before the Court passes judgement in this case.