HL Deb 22 March 1999 vol 598 cc121-2WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will ask the Government of Turkey:

  1. (a) whether the members and employees of HADEP i the Peoples Democracy Party) arrested in the last month have all been released; and, if not, who is still in custody; and
  2. (b) whether senior officials of three trades unions were recently arrested in Diyarbakir; whether they and others suffered torture as has been alleged; and whether any persons were held for longer than the ten days permitted under emergency regulations. [HL1476]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)

According to HADEP, since Ocalan's arrest on 15 February, approximately 3, 000 HADEP members and supporters have been detained. Most of these have been released without charge. But 116 of them have been charged—mainly with promoting separatism or aiding the PKK—of which 30 (including 5 HADEP Central Committee members) are being held on remand.

According to the Human Rights Association, the following senior trade unionists were taken into custody in Diyarbakir on 20 February: SES branch chairman Huseyin Bayrak; Egitim Sen branch chairman Ebukebir Celebi; and Birlesik Tasimacilik branch chairman Hasan Soy sal. On 21 February Turn Yargi Sen branch chairman Edip Binbir and Harb-Is branch chairman Mehmet Durmus were also taken into custody. A further seven other trade union officials were also taken into custody on the above dates and on 28 February.

All 21 union officials were released on 1 March without charges and within the maximum 10 day detention period. A number have said that they were blindfolded, subjected to verbal abuse and beaten during their detention.

The British Embassy will raise these issues with the Turkish authorities at an early opportunity.