The Trial of Selma Tanrikulu

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I have no relationship or connection whatsoever with any illegal organisation. I deny the charges claiming that I do. In addition, I repudiate my police statement. The accusations are groundless. I am innocent. -- Selma Tanrikulu

They made me lie down, blindfolded, and they gave me electric shocks on my hands and feet. I faced sexual harassment and they threatened to do things to my 14-year old daughter. -- Selma Tanrikulu

Wasn't the real reason for the arrests the Peace Train rally because the state believed it was PKK-organised, or else why would the defendants have been arrested the day before. -- Abdullah Akin, defence lawyer

Selma Tanrikulu was one of six HADEP candidates elected to the Turkish parliament with an 80,000 majority in the 1995 general election. Due to the rigging of the electoral system she has been unable to take her seat. On 21 August 1997, she together with six other HADEP officials and two trade unionists were arrested on the eve of the International Peace Rally due to take place in Diyarbakir the following day. They are currently on trial in Diyarbakir. The trial parallels that of HADEP executive members on trial in Ankara No 2 State Security Court.

Zeki Tanrikulu, the husband of Selma Tanrikulu was killed by the shadowy forces of the state (3 September 1997). She has not made herself popular with the state by demanding that those responsible be caught and prosecuted.

Selma Tanrikulu was arrested the day before the Peace Rally in Diyarbakir. Selma Tanrikulu and her fellow detainees were tortured.

On the day of the rally the police carried out mass arrests of 2,000 people. Many of those arrested were beaten and tortured. A Peace Convoy attempting to enter the city was denied entry by armoured vehicles and helicopter gunships.

With the exception of Selma Tanrikulu her fellow detainees were charged under Article 169 of the Turkish Penal Code. Selma Tanrikulu was charged under Article 168(2).

The first hearing was held on 19 November 1997. The 'evidence' against Selma Tanrikulu was a transcript of a mobile phone conversation and identification as a PKK supporter by a police informer.

At the hearing the prosecution were unable to furnish any evidence. The other defendants retracted their statements claiming they had been obtained under torture.

For three days in prison Selma Tanrikulu was handcuffed to a door. If she moved, the handcuff automatically tightened. One day the Chief Prosecutor of Midyat arrived with a police team. They then proceeded to beat up the prisoners' dormitory representative.

The trial continues ....

Francesca D'Silva, The Trial of Selma Tanrikulu, Kurdistan Report, No 26 Jan-March 1998
Further information on the trial of Selma Tanrikulu may be obtained from:
Kurdish Information Centre, 10 Glasshouse Yard, London EC1A 4JN
tel +44-171-250-1315 / fax +44-171-250-1317

Justice in Turkey? ~ Ankara HADEP Trial ~ Musa Anter Peace Train
(c) Keith Parkins 1998 -- June 1998 rev 0