Political refugees in danger of extradition to Turkey

Since the last visit of Samaras in Ankara, the Greek authorities have started a witch hunt against Turkish political refugees in Greece. In the beginning of 2013 four asylum seekers living for many years in Greece were arrested following the activation of extradition signals via interpol. All of the arrested are victims of torture and some of them show health problems pointing to their longterm hunger strikes they held inside Turkish prisons. The final decision on their extradition will be taken in April. One of the four is held in prison until the decision. It is very likely that more extradition proceedings will be activated against Turkish refugees in Greece.

read: announcement of the group of lawyers for the rights of migrants and refugees, Athens (in greek)

by the movement for freedom and democratic rights

In the recent weeks, Turkish and Kurdish political refugees in Greece are faced with constant prosecutions (arrests, searches at their homes, detentions when they protest in front of the Turkish Embassy). Turkey is activating several extradiction signals, even for refugees who have been in Greece for over a decade, and whose asylum requests are still pending due to the substantially inefficient system of asylum granting.

In Patra, the Judicial Council of Second Instance in unanimity with the Proecutor has recently judged that Z. Korbuz and B. Komert should not be extradited to Turkey and in addition, it has ordered the cessation of the first refugee’s detention and the removal of the second refugee’s restrictive conditions.

As it came out during the hearing procedure, the indictment was poorly founded and exposed to multiple contradictions, the prosecutions were launched because of the political and syndicalistic activity of the accused, who had been arrested and tortured in Turkey in the past (G. Korbuz in particular was also targeted because of his ethnic and religious beliefs, and his family background, as his sister is a symbolic figure of the struggle that drove an international campaign against tortures, while all the other members of his family have been arrested and abused). It also became very clear that if extradited to Turkey there is an imminent risk of them being tortured in order to confess their deeds.

It is however particularly strange that the day after the taking of this decision – and even before the beginning of the typical procedure for its official publication-, the Prosecutor of Second Instance of Patras filed an appeal against this decision (in absolute contradiction with the fact that the Prosecutor of the hearing had pointed out that the charges were heavily unfounded), and in addition he requested for the continuation of the detention of the one refugee, despite the Judicial Council’s contrary decision on the matter.

Taking into consideration that these facts occurred on a moment when there are persistent rumors referring to a secret agreement being concluded between the two Prime Ministers, Samaras and Erdogan, concerning matters of extradition of political refugees to Turkey, it becomes clear that the Greek government is prompt to violate the Geneva Convention, in the same way it violated the Greek Constitution and dismantled the workers’ rights in Greece.

Ιt is evident that the Greek government does not care about the fact that nowadays in Turkey a savage campaign of violation of human rights is being conducted with the arrest, on the basis of the antiterrorist legislation, of thousands of citizens of Kurdish origin (10.000 people are currently faced with charges) and also of hundreds of Turkish syndicalists of the private (DISK) and public (KESK) sector, as well as of lawyers who have been struggling for the defense of democratic rights and people’s freedoms.

It is also important to note that if someone is arrested under the Turkish antiterrorism law, he is subject to a long detention with indefinite time limit and with no access to his case file until the beginning of the trial (which could possibly be situated two years later). It might also mean that he is subject to the jurisdiction and judgment of special courts, for the operation of which Turkey has been several times condemned by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, since these courts make use -inter alia- as means of proof confessions extorted with recourse to tortures.

Today, Turkey is being constantly “under attack” by all international organizations dealing with human rights, but apparently these facts are of minor importance to the Greek government, which probably regards with admiration the suppressive practices of the neighboring country.

It is though our elementary duty to abolish in practice these agreements, to not allow the extradition of any Turkish nor Kurdish political refugee, and to make sure that they are at last officially granted political asylum.

movement for freedom and democratic rights (in english)

“Stop his extradition to Turkey!”
An interview with Nazli Top*, the sister of Zeki Gurbuz

The Kurdish communist and political refugee Zeki Gurbuz is in severe danger of longterm imprisonment and torture in case of an extradition to Turkey.

– Why is Zeki Gurbuz wanted in Turkey? Why does Turkey demand his deportation?
+ It is well known to the public opinion that for decades the people of Turkey, the minorities but also workers and employees, students, youth, women struggle for democratic rights and all kinds of democratic freedoms. In this period, tens of thousands of people lost their lives and hundreds of thousands were tortured, they entered prison, faced bans. The regime has always regarded and regards the popular opposition not as a democratic right but as terrorism threatening the dismemberment of the “Turkish Republic.” Currently there are thousands of trade unionists, workers, intellectuals, lawyers, journalists etc in prison.
This is the Turkish democracy and within this context they demand the expulsion of my brother to legitimize their illegality. That means, the fighters are terrorists and state terrorism is democracy.
At the same time they demand the expulsion of the fighters in order to attack and restrict their activity abroad. They try to limit our struggle but also to legitimize their illegality on an international level.
These cases can play an exemplary role and Turkey wants to take that step to be able to push and threaten the countries where the militants are active.
– From your point of view, was this topic discussed in the meeting between Erdogan and Samaras?
+ Of course it was discussed. Both sides announced that they had talked about the issue of “terrorism”. In Turkey who is still struggling even for the obvious human rights that should exist will be easily categorised by the state as “terrorist.” And today in the name of economic relations pursued between Greece and Turkey, the victims are the human rights. International agreements are violated. It seems that there is an agreement to expel militants. How can one explain that while the first instance court’s decisions reject the extradition the Supreme Court intervenes and cancels the decision? What is the substance of the case? What is the real problem? It’s Simple. Turkey asks for the militants to punish them.
– Were committees for the freedom of Gurbuz created in Europe?
+ Almost in all European countries committees were built for his freedom. Each Wednesday in Germany, Belgium, Holland, France there are demonstrations in front of the Greek embassies. The committees keep contact with human rights organisations and the European Parliament.
– Also your husband had some troubel. Turkey requested his expulsion from Belgium. what happened finally in his case?
+ Yes, that’s right. My husband had been six years in prison and was forced to go abroad and ask for asylum. Turkey asked via Interpol for his expulsion from Belgium. The Belgic authorities and the court showed that this case was already closed and my husband acquitted. The request was denied of course and Interpol deleted the warrant.
– What message do you send to the Greek public opinion?
+ We know very well that the Greek people has a democratic tradition and antiimperialism. I believe that the public opinion will embrace the militants and refuse the demands of the surpressors. There is already a big movement and reaction to this issue.
* Nazli Top: She is a political refugee in Europe since 2002 and until today. Almost all of the family Gurbuz was always a target of the Turkish regime. Mrs. Top was unionist and fought for years the struggle of the workers and employees. In 1992 she was arrested by police when she was three months pregnant. The case Nazli Top preoccupied the international public opinion and she became a symbol of the struggles of women in Turkey. Her husband experienced six years martyrdom in a Turkish prison and now he is abroad.

Source: http://tsak-giorgis.blogspot.gr/2013/03/blog-post_3342.html

Vathi kokkino (in greek)