December 28, 2016
On December 13, 2016, 210 members and administrators of Democratic Party of Peoples were detained in Urfa. Three of them are mayors, and nine are lawyers who are members of the Urfa Bar Association. Names of detained lawyers are Özkan Gören, Bülent Özışık, Velat İzol, Cemo Tüysüz, Gülay Koca, Serdar Gökhan, Mevlüt Güneş, Aslan Veysanoğlu and Sait Dağ. Furthermore Urfa is a border town; therefore, there are human rights activists who work on immigrants among the detained group.
In the last period, there has been no incident in Urfa that would require collective detention.
On 19-20 December 2016, the people who were detained met Veysi Eski and Bülent Aşa who are members of the İstanbul Law Society with special permission from the public prosecutor. In their interviews with their lawyers, the suspects declared:
The reasons for their detention, the charges against them and their rights have not been explained to detained suspects neither at the time of capture nor after detention.
While female suspects were taken to the police station, the others were taken to closed sports hall. Currently, about 300 people are kept in the closed sports hall together with the previously detained suspects. About 300 people in custody have used only one toilet in closed sports hall and these people are not able to take shower in the toilet.
The suspects are not routinely taken to the health checkup. Every 5 days the medical doctor comes to the sports hall. The doctor has not examined the suspects, he rather has asked to the suspects behind the barriers weather they have any health problems. Then he left the sports hall. Consequently there is no health check for the suspects.
The suspects were able to have an interview with their lawyers after 5 days of detention. The interviews were result of a special permission from the prosecutor’s office. In that sense, they also have been detained from the right to speak to a lawyer for 5 days before any interview took place. During the interviews, the police were present and the interviews were monitored by the police.
Article 91 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that the detention period can not exceed 24 hours from the moment of capture, and that it be extended by up to only 3 more days in obligatory cases. However, with the Decree Law No. 667 of 23 July 2016, which was published on the grounds of the state of emergency, the maximum length of detention has been increased to 30 days for people tried in the scope of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK). This issue leads to the deprivation of the freedom for arbitrary people.
Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) states that everyone arrested or detained shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. HDP members and administrators have been kept under surveillance for 10 days arbitrarily without any justification. In that sense, Article 5 of the Convention is violated and persons are deprived of their liberty. Moreover, these people are not aware of accusation they are charged with.
Article 149 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that suspects or accused persons may benefit from the support of one or more lawyers at every stage of the investigation and prosecution. In the Decree Law No. 668, it is stated that; the right of the suspects tried in the scope of the Atni- Terör Law to meet with the lawyer may be restricted for 5 days, if there is a decision of the public prosecutor. With the Decree No. 676 dated October 29, 2016, this period has decreased to 1 day. However, in practice, the suspects have been still prevented from contacting the lawyer for 5 days and so the law has been violated. Moreover, people who were held in Urfa were also able to see their lawyers 5 days after receiving the special permission from the prosecutor’s office.
It is a violation of rights that the detained people can not access a lawyer for 5 days and can not be examined by the doctor. Conditions such as not being able to access the lawyer and not being examined by a doctor are also serious concerns in terms of torture and ill treatment. People in custody need to talk to the doctor in such a way that the police will not hear and preferably not see them. But there is not any healthy and close communication with doctor regarding the suspects in Urfa. The lawyers were also interviewed in police custody.
In Article 17 of the Turkish Constitution, torture and ill treatment are prohibited and in Article 94 of the Turkish Penal Code, torture and ill treatment are counted as crimes. Article 3 of the ECHR also prohibits torture and ill treatment. It is torture and ill treatment that all about 300 suspects are forced to use the same toilet, take a shower in the toilet, remain in the sports hall with arbitrary reasons for 10 days. The suspects are deprived of the right to sleep under appropriate conditions supplied by adequate nutrition and clean air and.
According to Article 1 of the 1987 European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment:
“The Committee shall, by means of visits, examine the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty with a view to strengthening, if necessary, the protection of such persons from torture and from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
In accordance with the said Convention, we demand urgent visit to Urfa and negotiation with the suspects who declare that they have been tortured.