Speaking to ANF about recent cases of abductions, Human Rights Association (IHD) Amed Branch President, lawyer Abdullah Zeytun, said: “People should express their situation through institutions like ours and claim their rights on legal grounds. According to the European Convention on Human Rights, these illegal detentions are torture”.
In the ‘90s, disappearances occurred on a daily basis and usually resulted in murders by ‘unknown’. These disappearances were at the top of Kurdistan’s most important agendas.
Zeytun said: “The news that many Kurdish patriots, businessmen, politicians lost their lives as a result of kidnapping and abduction policies carried out by the governments of the time, were headlines in the outlets of the free press”.
In recent times, the lawyer added “we have been experiencing the same type of cases. In the past week, a young person named C.M. living in Amed was stopped by three civilian cars on 19 July. Some persons introduced themselves as police officers and forced him into a vehicle. The youngster was subjected to physical violence and threats and this was also covered by the press.”
Zeytun said that in Turkey there is a gap in the legal structure which ultimately means that safety of both the individual and society is not fully protected.
“Many cases of abduction are reported to our association. They come especially from university students telling that they are forced into armored vehicles when they are near their schools or houses. They are released but only after having been threatened and harassed”.
Journalists also, said the lawyer, are victims of this illegal practice.
Of course, these are not new events, said the lawyer. Such incidents happen often when predictability is not the case.
“There is a great danger – said the lawyer – in exposing these violations, as the person illegally abducted had been threatened and warned not to talk. According to the European Convention on Human Rights, these illegal detentions are torture”.
Amed IHD Branch President said that “as human rights defenders, we will do anything we can in the scope of the legal possibilities we have. When subjected to such illegal procedures, the person in question must legally secure himself/herself and take initiatives to initiate legal action against this practice”.
Very important, as well as the action that the victim can take, is public awareness, said the lawyer.
“People – he added – must know that they have legal rights in such cases”.
Speaking about the actions they take after an application is made to them for cases of abduction, lawyer Zeytun said: “First of all, we are going the prosecutor’s office with the person who experienced this abuse. Our association ultimately bases itself on the security and protection of the right to life and works on the prevention of torture. The main point here is to prevent the person from feeling weak and unprotected after such an event”.
Lawyer Zeytun said that a person who suffered such an abduction may be feeling scared, but he/she should not end up thinking that such a violation originating from the current political situation will not go unpunished. Existing laws or regulations may give the appearance of protecting public officers or people stating they are such, but the victim should fight a legal battle for his/her rights”.
Emphasizing that the protection of the right to life is a guaranteed right under international conventions, lawyer Zeytun ended his remarks by saying: “A person is under the protection of the state bound by legal obligation. Anyone who violates this must be punished. In this sense, associations, NGOs and citizens have a mission to defend and put rights first. Every individual who is subject to the violation of his/her rights should denounce it and pursue any legal possibility to expose such a violation.”