Authorization Conflict in Rape Trial

A Turkish court began trying the 405 soldiers who are charged with raping S.E. who was detained three times in 1993 and 1994. The court did not accept the authorization documents that lawyers Keskin and Karakas got from German officials.

A Turkish court on Friday began trying the 405 soldiers, including 64 high-ranking soldiers, who are charged with raping S.E. who was detained three times in 1993 and 1994. S.E. who has escaped to Germany, and the lawyers of the defendants did not attend the first hearing of the trial.

Court rejected authorization documents

Lawyer Fatma Karakas, who has authorization to represent S.E. could not go because of bad weather to the southeastern province of Mardin where the trial is being held. Lawyer Eren Keskin could not attend the hearing because she was in Germany.

The court asked German officials to translate the authorization document for Karakas and Keskin. The court rejected the authorization documents given by Karakas and Keskin to lawyers Gulay Koca, Ayla Akat, Meral Danis, Reyhan Yalcindag and Aygul Demirtas. The court said the authorization document could not be accepted before "the document is translated into Turkish."

The hearing was postponed to November 5. The court ordered that missing documents including S.E.'s hospital reports are completed.

Defendants face up to 15 years in prison

The 405 soldiers who worked at the Derik Cayonu and Mazidagi Gonarkoy paramilitary police stations at the time, face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

Karakas: The missing documents can be completed in the future

Lawyer Karakas, who is one of the pioneers of the "Legal Aid Against Rape and Harassment under Detention" project, said that the trial had begun with the authorization documents, which the court now did not accept.

Lawyer Keskin emphasized that the authorization documents were legal. She said the decision to postpone the trial was "a way to drag the case. Our application would not have been accepted and the interrogation would not begin if the authorization documents were not legal," said Keskin.

History of the case

S.E. who says she was informally detained three times in 1993 and 1994, claims to have been tortured and raped every time. The trial began five years after her application.

S.E., born in 1972, gave an account of what she went through for the first time in 1998 in Germany where she had to go because of the threats she received. She talked about the things she went through at a panel on "State Originated Sexual Violence Against Women."

In September 14, 1998, Keskin applied to the prosecutor's office in Mardin with charges of torture and rape. After their application was rejected, lawyers Eren Keskin and Fatma Karakas went to a higher court.

In their letter of application, they included reports from the Izmir Treatment Center of the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TIHV) and the International Berlin Torture and Rehabilitation Center, where S.E. underwent treatment.

The court took into account the reports by these institutions, which stated that S.E. underwent trauma compatible with what she said she went through. The court accepted the application and decided to open a trial in February 10, 1999.(BB/EA/NM)

Mardin - BÄ°A News Center

13 October 2003, Monday