To: Turkish authorities, European Parliament, Council of Europe
Re: the arrest and torture of Mehmet Bal
We are outraged that the Turkish conscientious objector Mr Mehmet Bal was arrested on 8 June 2008 and was held in custody in Beşiktaş Military Prison where he was beaten by duty officers, and denied water and toilet facilities.
The next day, he was sent to the Hasdal Military Prison, where his hair was forcibly cut; the officers in charge incited other prisoners to "do what is necessary"; in response, prisoners beat him with sticks almost half a meter long and thick as a human wrist; when he passed out, he was dragged into cold showers so that he could regain consciousness and be beaten again. He is now in Adana Military Prison, hundreds of kilometres from his home in Istanbul. His crime refusing to kill.
Along with Mehmet Bal and his supporters in Turkey and internationally, including Amnesty International, we demand that:
- Mr Bals torture or any ill-treatment, including attacks or intimidation by staff and other prisoners, end now;
- He must be given an independent medical examination and appropriate treatment promptly;
- There is an immediate investigation, prosecution and punishment of prison staff and prisoners who organised and perpetrated the attacks;
- His immediate and unconditional release.
Furthermore, we demand that the EU make a precondition of any talks about Turkeys entry into the Union the immediate end of the persecution of conscientious objectors and the recognition of the right to refuse to kill.
All of us must have the right to refuse to kill, the right to live in a world free of war and dictatorship, a world which invests in caring, not killing.
Refusing to kill is not a crime and this protection of human life must be supported, not punished.
Adana Military Prison Fax: +90-322-322 81 36
General Yaşar Büyükanit, Chief of Staff, Turkish Armed Forces
Abdullah Gül, President of Turkey
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister
Mehmet Ali Şahin, Minister of Justice
Abdulkadir Aksu, Minister of the Interior
Vecdi Gönül, Minister of National Defence
Mehmet Zafer Üskül, Chairperson, Turkish Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights
Hélène Flautre MEP, Chairperson, Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament
Giuseppe Gargani MEP, Chairperson, Committee on Legal Affairs
Gerard Deprez MEP, Chairperson, Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
Joost Lagendijk MEP, Chairperson, Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee
Olli Rehn, European Commissioner for Enlargement
Heather Grabbe, Member, Cabinet of Olli Rehn, Responsible for Turkey