Saturday Mothers launch campaign against statute of limitations
DHA PhotoThe Saturday Mothers group, made up of the mothers of people who have disappeared under state custody in Turkey in recent decades, has launched a joint campaign with the Human Rights Foundation (İHD), against the application of the statute of limitations in a number of cases.
The campaign has been launched because a number of cases are set to exceed the statute of limitations throughout February and March, after failing to reach a conclusion within 20 years.
At a press conference in Istanbul on Feb. 4, İHD President Öztürk Türkdoğan said they had prepared a legislative proposal to demand that the statute of limitations should not be implemented in cases regarding crimes against humanity, daily Cumhuriyet reported.
“Impunity is deep and structural. This angers us,” Türkdoğan stated, saying the Saturday Mothers have been “suffering heavy torture” for years.
He added that then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had promised in 2011 that Turkey would become a party to United Nations conventions that propose no legal limitation in cases regarding crimes against humanity, recognizing the juridical power of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
However, there is still no article in the Turkish Penal Code on people who went missing in state custody, he said, adding that suspects had been tried without arrest in 18 ongoing cases into missing people and unsolved murders.
The Saturday Mothers, who have gathered every Saturday in front of the Galatasaray High School on Istanbul’s central İstiklal Avenue since the mid-1990s, carry posters of missing family members who have disappeared after being detained by security forces, or who have died in unsolved murders.
Every week, two or three relatives read a message or a poem for their loved ones, while anybody who wants to can take part in the demonstrations by holding a picture of one of the missing people.