|European Court of Human Rights condemns the State of Turkey in the
case of Ipek
Press release issued by the Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights
[ 079a(2004) - 17.02.2004]. Produced by Radio Nizkor on 21Feb04.
The applicant, Abdurrezak İpek, is a Turkish national, born in 1942 and living in Diyarbakır, Turkey. At the time of the events in question, he was living in the area of the Lice district, Diyarbakır province.
The Court conducted an investigation on the facts of the case and concluded as follows:
On 18 May 1994, a military convoy arrived in the hilly area in the vicinity of Dahlezeri hamlet. Armed soldiers went down to the hamlet on foot. The applicant and the other inhabitants were ordered to leave their homes and were assembled under guard at the school on the outskirts of the hamlet. The soldiers took the identity cards of the adult males, including those of the applicant and his sons İkram and Servet İpek.
Soldiers also set the houses in the hamlet on fire, most of which were burned down or badly destroyed. The inhabitants assembled at the school were aware of what was happening, but were prevented from returning to their homes.
At some point before noon, the soldiers selected six young men, including İkram and Servet İpek, to help carry equipment, giving assurances that they would be able to return. The soldiers returned the identity documents to the inhabitants, but kept those taken from the selected six.
The inhabitants went back to the hamlet and found that their homes had been destroyed, including the applicant’s house, belongings and livestock. Some inhabitants set about salvaging their belongings and extinguishing the flames. At some point in the afternoon of 18 May 1994, the soldiers returned and threatened the inhabitants with violence if they extinguished the fires. The soldiers burned any houses that remained standing.
The applicant’s sons were later taken to an unidentified military establishment in Lice, from where they were never released.
The Court held unanimously that there had been:
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