No statute of limitations for disappearances in custody: Turkish Justice Ministry
ANKARANo statute of limitations can be applied to cases regarding disappearances in custody, the Turkish Justice Ministry has said following a parliamentary question by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu.
In his parliamentary question, Tanrıkulu asked whether the statute of limitations could be applied in cases regarding disappearances in custody.
The Justice Ministry said in its reply that disappearances in custody were covered under Article 77 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which concerns crimes against humanity and which says that no statute of limitations can be applied to such violations of rights.
Tanrıkulu’s question concerned the demands of the Cumartesi Anneleri (Saturday Mothers) group, which has been holding sit-in protests every Saturday at Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square for more than 600 weeks to raise awareness and determine the fate of loved ones who have disappeared since the Sept. 12, 1980, military coup.
The lawmaker also asked whether the investigations into disappearances in detention would be re-launched in cases in which the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECHR) found violations of the right to a proper investigation.
The ministry replied, saying the investigations could be relaunched if a demand is filed within three months after the Euro court’s ruling.
The early and mid-1990s saw the fiercest clashes between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish security forces, mostly in the eastern and southeastern provinces of Turkey, while many people disappeared while in custody.
Tanrıkulu, a former head of the Diyarbakır Bar Association, has been one of the staunchest supporters of the Saturday Mothers, visiting them at nearly all of their sit-in protests.