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News :: GLBT/Queer : International
URGENT Refusenik Mehmet Tarhan - Stop mistreatment and detention
08 Jun 2005
We are urging support for Mehmet Tarhan, a conscientious objector who is a gay man, detained since 8 April in the military prison of Sivas, Turkey. We understand that he has been repeatedly and brutally attacked by other prisoners after prison staff told them that he was "a terrorist". His trial, which began on 26 May, has been postponed to 9 June. When he appeared in court on the 26th, Mr Tarhan had bruises all over his body and could not walk well. He is now on hunger strike against the abuse and against the refusal of the prison authorities to ensure his safety.
* * * * * PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY * * * * * *

"I knew solidarity groups would be formed but I could not even dream that such intense efforts would be spent and that such wide participation would take place. This created an atmosphere that could almost make the prison process bearable. The participants prove that despite all the repression and denial, no one has the power to imprison the demand for peace. This reinforces my belief for the day all of us shall be free." Mehmet Tarhan, from Sivas military prison

Dear sisters and brothers,

You may have seen our recent Action Alert urging support for Mehmet Tarhan, a conscientious objector who is a gay man, detained since 8 April in the military prison of Sivas, Turkey (see http://www.refusingtokill.net/mehmetPaydayletter.htm). We understand that he has been repeatedly and brutally attacked by other prisoners, after prison staff told them that he was "a terrorist".

Mr Tarhan has been charged under Article 88 of the Turkish Military Penal Code with "Insubordination in front of the unit" and faces up to five years imprisonment. His trial, which began on 26 May, has been postponed to 9 June. When he appeared in court on the 26th, Mr Tarhan had bruises all over his body and could not walk well. He is now on hunger strike against the abuse and against the refusal of the prison authorities to ensure his safety.

Mr Tarhan is part of a growing movement in the region and all over the world of those who refuse the ever-increasing global squandering of human and financial resources on military violence, and the poverty thereby created and enforced. There have been demonstrations in Turkey in support of Mr Tarhan and his fight for conscientious objection to be legally recognized as his and everyone's right.

Your help is urgently needed to stop the attacks on Mr Tarhan and press for his immediate release. Please send letters of protest to the following fax and email addresses. You may want to use and sign the model letter below, or write your own.


General Staff fax: (+90) 312 - 425 08 13 email: gnkur (at) tsk.mil.tr

Presidency of Turkey Republic fax: (+90) 312 427 13 30 email: cumhurbaskanligi (at) tccb.gov.tr

Sivas Military Prison fax : (+90) 346- 225 39 15

Turkish Ambassador to the UK H.E. Mr Akin Alptuna, turkish.emb (at) btclick.com

Turkish Ambassador to the USA Dr. Osman Faruk Logoglu, ambassador (at) turkishembassy.org
Fax 202 612 6744 Phone 202 612 6700

A list of other Turkish embassies abroad can be found at
http://www.mfa.gov.tr/MFA/Ministry/TurkishRepresentations/

If you live in the European Union, please write your MEP and to ask them to act on behalf of Mehmet Tarhan, and to raise the issue in negotiations with Turkey about its accession to the European Union. A list of MEPs is available at

http://wwwdb.europarl.eu.int/ep6/owa/p_meps2.repartition?ilg=EN&iorig=ho


Please also send a copy to Payday, payday (at) paydaynet.org,
and to War Resisters International, info (at) wri-irg.org

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

6 June 2005

RE: Conscientious Objector Mehmet Tarhan, detained in military prison of Sivas

We write (again) in support of Mehmet Tarhan, a gay man and conscientious objector, detained since 8 April in the military prison of Sivas. We understand that he has been repeatedly and brutally attacked by other prisoners, after the prison staff encouraged them by telling them he was "a terrorist".

We protest most vehemently against the continuous abuse and torture of Mr Tarhan by the military command, the prison staff and prisoners.

We hold the Turkish military and civil authorities responsible for the attacks to which Mr Tarhan has been subject, and for any that might occur in future. Those responsible for inciting and perpetrating violent acts against Mr Tarhan must be brought to justice.

Mr Tarhan was beaten and received death threats from other prisoners until he was forced to give up all his money, clothes and phone-cards. He was forced to call his sister, asking her to bring in suits, ties, shoes and shirts, which the prison authorities delivered to his attackers.

Mr Tahran was also threatened in front of his lawyer, Sanem Doganoglu. Some of his attackers in jail are convicted murderers.

The lawyer made representation to the prison authority, who promised to do something about it, but inside the prison Mr Tarhan's attackers continued to have complete and unrestrained access to him.

Mr Tarhan had his hair forcibly cut by the military and was brought before the Sivas Military Court on 26 May. The trial was then postponed to 9 June. When he appeared in court on the 26th, Mr Tarhan had bruises all over his body and could not walk well. He is now on hunger strike against the abuse and against the refusal of the prison authorities to ensure his safety.

Following the events in court on the 26 May, three conscientious objectors among supporters outside the courtroom, Ersan Ugur Gor, Erdem Yalcinkaya, Mustafa Seyhoglu, also were arrested. Other supporters resisted and tried to prevent the police taking them, but the police violently attacked the protestors, injuring many including women. Ten were arrested on charges of "assaulting the police". A fourth conscientious objector, Hasan Cimen, was arrested that night. All the objectors and protestors were later released but may face charges, and the objectors have been ordered to report to the recruiting office as was done with Mr Tarhan prior to his imprisonment.

We demand the immediate release of Mehmet Tarhan from prison and his total discharge from military duty, so that he can continue his campaign for peace free of restriction and persecution.

We demand the immediate recognition of conscientious objector status for Mehmet Tarhan, Ersan Ugur Gor, Erdem Yalcinkaya, Mustafa Seyhoglu and Hasan Cimen and that all charges be dropped against them and their supporters.

Yours for refusing to kill,

Dean Kendall
Payday US

Michael Kalmanovitz
Payday UK

Cc: Members of European Parliament Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert
Press



Payday, an international network of men working with the Global Women's Strike

PO Box 287 London NW6 5QU England Tel: 020 7209 4751 Fax 020 7209 4761
PO Box 11795, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19101, US. Tel: (215) 848 1120 Fax: (215) 848 1130

Email payday (at) paydaynet.org Web www.refusingtokill.net
See also:
http://www.refusingtokill.net

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