Re: Mr. Ali Oncu, Mr. Edip Yasar, and others
To: Mr. Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of Turkey
From: Charles B. Davison, member of LRWC
I am writing to you at this time concerning the situation of a number of lawyers and other human rights defenders in your country who have been arrested and imprisoned since the end of March 2006.
We understand that starting on March 29, 2006 a number of members of the Human Rights Association have been arrested and imprisoned in Diyarbakir and Batman. Mr. Mecail Ozel, Mr. Resit Yaray, Mr. Mursel Kayar, Mr. Huseyin Cangir, Mr. Erdal Kuzu, Mr. Ali Oncu and Mr. Edip Yasar have all been arrested and detained. Some have been alleged to have been “assisting and supporting illegal organizations”, and some (Mr. Kuzu and Mr. Cangir) have been mistreated and beaten. However, it would appear that all were doing nothing more than observing and protesting against attacks by various security forces upon civilians.
Furthermore, since March 28, 2006 we understand a number of people have disappeared after violent riots between Kurdish citizens and security forces. Massive numbers of persons have been arrested (around 600) but lawyers seeking to advise and represent them have been denied access to the prisoners.
We respectfully call for your guarantee that all those detained, including the lawyers and other human rights defenders listed in this letter, will be protected from any form of physical or mental abuse or mistreatment and that their integrity will be respected fully. Any person charged with a recognizable and legitimate offence must be tried in a fair proceeding before an impartial court. We call for the immediate cessation of all acts of harassment against human rights defenders in Turkey and that your government conform with the terms and provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998.