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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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DISAPPEARANCE - Koceri KURT v Turkey - Report adopted December '96

In the case of KURT, the applicant alleged that her son had disappeared in November 1993 while in the custody of security forces in Agilli village (near Dicle in Diyarbakir province) and that she had not seen or heard form him since. She claimed that in spite of numerous petitions to the authorities no attempt had been made to discover his fate or identify those responsible. The Commission accepted that the applicant's son was last seen surrounded by security forces and found that the Turkish government was responsible for the disappearance.

This was the first case of its kind ever to be decided on by the European Commission. It chose to deal with the 'disappearance' principally as a violation of the right to liberty and security (Article 5). It concluded unanimously that the applicant's son had been: '..arbitrarily deprived of his liberty contrary to Article 5 and in disregard of the guarantees of that provision concerning the legal justification for such deprivation a requisite judicial control. Further the circumstances in which he has since "disappeared" disclose a violation of his right to security of the person, raising as it does, grave doubts as to the treatment which he received and as to whether he is still alive.' The applicant has had no news of her son for over three years now. The Commission found that the continuing uncertainty, doubt and apprehension suffered by the applicant, on account of Turkish government's failure to account for her son's disappearance, amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Article 3 of the Convention. The denial of an effective investigative process also amounted to a violation of Article 13 of the Convention (right to an effective remedy)

UNLAWFUL KILLING - Mehmet KAYA v Turkey - Report adopted October '96

The case of KAYA concerned allegations that the applicant's brother was unlawfully killed by Turkish security forces near Dolunay village in the district of Lice, southeast Turkey. The applicant alleged that on the 25th March 1993 his brother Abdulmenaf Kaya, a farmer, was out in the fields near his village, when he was shot at repeatedly after he ran away from soldiers who were conducting a military operation in the area. When he fell, injured, they pursued him riddling his body with bullets. According to the applicant, the soldiers then planted a firearm on him and took photographs.

According to the Turkish government 'there was nothing suspicious about the death' of Abdulmenaf Kaya. It claimed that security forces came under fire while conducting a field search and they returned fire. After the shooting they conducted a search and found the body of the applicant's brother and an assault weapon and ammunition lying beside it.

The Commission listed a number of reasons to doubt the soldiers version of events but stated that because of the absence of witness testimony, it could not find beyond reasonable doubt that the applicant was deliberately killed by soldiers. It did however find a violation of the right to life (Article 2) on account of the 'major deficiencies in the investigation' In particular, the Commission criticised the autopsy report as 'imprecise' and cast doubt on it objectivity. No detailed investigation into the killing was conducted and the authorities 'did not find it necessary to examine seriously the possibility that he had been killed in circumstances which would have involved the responsibility of the security forces'. The Commission also found Turkey in violation of Article 6 (right to a civil remedy) of the Convention.

DESTRUCTION OF VILLAGES Keje SELCUK and Ismet ASKER v Turkey - Report adopted November '96. Ismet GUNDEM v Turkey - Report adopted September '96.

The cases of SELCUK and ASKER involved allegations that Turkish security forces were responsible for the burning of the applicants homes and property in the village of Islamkoy in Kulp district of Diyarbakir, southeast Turkey. The Commission found that in June 1993 security forces had set light to the applicant's homes and property. It noted the 'traumatic circumstances surrounding the burning', - in particular how Ismet Asker and his wife risked the smoke and flames of the fire in an effort to save some of their belongings; and how Keje Selcuk pleaded with the gendarmes who responded insultingly and pushing her. In all, the Commission found that the applicants had been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment contrary to Article 3 of the Convention. The Commission also found that there had been 'a very serious interference' with the applicant's right to home and family life(article 8) and right to property (article 1) and a violation of Article 6 and 13 (rights to civil and other remedies) on the basis that 'complaints that security forces have destroyed villagers' houses do not in practice receive the serious or detailed consideration necessary for any prosecution to be initiated.'

In another village destruction case - the case of GUNDEM- the applicant alleged that security forces had entered and sprayed houses in the village of Sarierik (in the Hazro district of Diyarbakir province) with bullets in January and February 1993. According to the applicant they targeted the Gundem house in particular. In an investigation hearing the Commission heard diverging evidence as to the facts of the case. In view of this and because the applicant himself did not give oral evidence before the Commission (he stated that he was too scared), the Commission found that it had not been established beyond reasonable doubt that the applicant's house and property were damaged by the security forces on the dates in question. As a result, the Commission did not find a violation of article 3, 5, 8 or Article 1 of Protocol 1. It did however find a violation of Article 6 on the basis that the authorities had not conducted an effective investigation into the applicant's allegations.