(WiPC/IFEX) - International PEN has been following the trial of Asiye Güzel Zeybek, former editor of a radical newspaper, which is yet to conclude over five years after her arrest. Zeybek's claims to have been raped in custody and her alleged attackers have not been prosecuted. International PEN is deeply concerned by the extreme length of Zeybek's trial during which time she has remained in prison, and is calling for a review of the decision not to proceed with the investigation into her alleged torturers. Zeybek's next trial hearing is due on 27 March.
Arrested in February 1997 during a demonstration protesting alleged links between Mafia groups and the government, Zeybek, now aged thirty-one, is still on trial, over five years later. Accused of being connected to the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLCP - now defunct), Zeybek is being tried on charges under Article 168 of the Turkish Penal Code for membership in an "illegal organisation". The indictment dating from 21 June 1994 accuses her of running and distributing the MLCP journal "Isçinin Yolu" ("Worker's Path"). During a trial hearing on 8 October 1997, Zeybek claimed to have been raped while under interrogation at the Istanbul Security Directorate Political Department. On 24 October 1997, her complaint against eight policemen was accepted following a report confirming the attack from the Psychosocial Traumatology Centre in Istanbul. The officers were brought to trial in November 1998. However, on 1 November 2000, the court decided not to proceed with the prosecution of the eight policemen. The 27 March hearing against Zeybek is a continuance of a series of hearings that started in 1997.
Send appeals to authorities:
- expressing concern at Zeybek's lengthy imprisonment without conclusion of her trial, over five years after her initial arrest
- urging that Zeybek be granted release pending the trial outcome
- referring to concerns that her allegations of rape while in police custody were not fully investigated and asking that there be a review of the decision not to proceed with the investigation into her alleged persecutors
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit
Fax: +90 312 417 0476
His Excellency Hikmet Sami Turk
Minister of Justice
Fax: +90 312 417 395
Please copy appeals to the source if possible.