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AMNESTY / TURKEY (L) BY CHRISTINE FURNELL/LONDON

From: yanni@ix.netcom.com (Ioannis Bousnakis)

DATE=7/26/95

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

NUMBER=2-182572

TITLE=AMNESTY / TURKEY (L)

BYLINE=CHRISTINE FURNELL

DATELINE=LONDON

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: THE LONDON-BASED HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, HAS SHARPLY CRITICIZED TURKEY'S HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD AND ACCUSED AUTHORITIES OF IGNORING INCREASING LEVELS OF ABUSE CARRIED OUT UNDER TURKEY'S ANTI-TERRORISM LAW. V-O-A'S CHRISTINE FURNELL REPORTS FROM LONDON.

TEXT: AMNESTY SAYS IT IS DISAPPOINTED THAT RECENT CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS DO NOT ADDRESS TURKEY'S FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS PROBLEMS.

THE HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP SAYS THE REFORMS CONCERN ONLY ISSUES SUCH AS CHANGES TO THE VOTING AGE AND THE PARLIAMENTARY CALENDAR, WHILE MORE SERIOUS PROBLEMS -- THE NUMBER OF DISAPPEARANCES, PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE, AND DEATHS IN CUSTODY AS A RESULT OF TORTURE -- ARE ON THE INCREASE.

AMNESTY HAS LONG CAMPAIGNED FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO BRING TURKEY IN LINE WITH INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS AND PROVIDE SAFEGUARDS AGAINST VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS. AMNESTY'S RESEARCHER ON TURKEY, JONATHAN SUGDEN, SAYS CITIZENS COULD BE PROTECTED FROM ABUSE BY EVEN SOME SMALL CHANGES TO PENAL CODE..

                      ///  SUGDEN ACT  ///

THE REAL KEY TO TORTURE IN TURKEY IS THE FACT THAT THERE IS AN INCREDIBLY LONG PERIOD OF POLICE CUSTODY. IN SOUTHEAST TURKEY, A PERSON CAN BE INTERROGATED IN ABSOLUTE INCOMMUNICADO FOR A MONTH WITHOUT ACCESS TO MEDICAL FACILITIES, A LAWYER, OR FAMILY MEMBERS. WHAT WE ARE ASKING FOR IS THE TURKISH AUTHORITIES SHOULD SHORTEN THE MAXIMUM PERIOD OF DETENTION TO NO MORE THAN A FEW HOURS OR A DAY OR TWO AT MOST, AND THAT FOR ALL THE TIME THE SUSPECT IS BEING INTERROGATED, THE SUSPECT SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO A LEGAL COUNSEL.

                        ///  END ACT  ///

AMNESTY SAYS LAST YEAR THERE WERE AT LEAST 29 DEATHS IN CUSTODY AS A RESULT OF TORTURE. THE GROUP SAYS THERE ARE SCORES OF PEOPLE CURRENTLY IN JAIL IN TURKEY OR THREATENED WITH LONG-TERM IMPRISONMENT FOR EXPRESSING NON-VIOLENT OPINIONS OUTLAWED BY TURKEY'S BROAD ANTI-TERROR LAW. ONE SECTION (ARTICLE EIGHT) OF THIS LAW DISALLOWS ANY STATEMENT DEEMED AS DAMAGING TO THE TURKISH STATE.

THE TURKISH EMBASSY IN LONDON HAD NO COMMENT ON AMNESTY'S FINDINGS. (SIGNED)

NEB/CEF/JWH/MMK

26-Jul-95 9:09 AM EDT (1309 UTC)

NNNN

Source: Voice of America

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