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Suspect in case of 13 deaths, Brigadier General Çitil, did not attend his trial


Ankara Regional Gendarme Commander Brigadier General Musa Çitil is currently on trial for the killing of 13 people in Derik during his service in 1993-94. The case, which Hafıza Merkezi has also been monitoring, recently had its third hearing in Çorum. Here we are sharing an article that can also be found on Bianet.

Lawyer Hüsnü Öndül from the Human Rights Joint Platform (İHOP), along with Erdal Kuzu, the Mardin Branch President of the Human Rights Association (İHD), discussed the hearing, which was held at Çorum’s 2nd High Criminal Court, and told bianet that the court did not accept their demands. Öndül stated that Çitil is being tried for crimes against humanity and that it is unjust for him to be tried while he remains out of custody.

The relatives of the disappeared will not speak until Çitil comes

Çitil is wanted for 13 life sentences for the crime of “killing a person” in accordance with No. 765, Clause 450 of the old Turkish Legal Code (TCK). However, because he received a prescription for a five-day repose from the Ankara Etimesgut Military Hospital, which he sent to the court via lawyer Yurdakan Yıldız, he did not attend the hearing. At the beginning of the hearing, as the witnesses’ identities were being confirmed, Kurdish translation was provided for the plaintiffs who did not know Turkish. Kuzu stated that “Some of our clients don’t know Turkish and they won’t understand what is going on in the hearing or the statements,” and shared that he had requested for a Kurdish translation for the duration of the trial. But the courts rejected his request. The lawyers of the families of the disappeared, citing “security concerns,” also requested that the hearing, which had been moved to Çorum, be returned to Mardin’s High Criminal Court. Kuzu explained that if these requests are rejected then a special authority court will have to take up the case, and demanded that the file be sent to the Diyarbakır High Criminal Court (former special authority court) under the 10th clause of the Anti-Terror Law. The panel of judges decided to reject all of the requests. In addition, Kuzu also communicated to Chief Judge Süreyya Saygın that the 12 relatives of the disappeared who are serving as plaintiffs, did not want to provide any testimonies because the suspect was absent.

“How will the witnesses be guaranteed safety?”

Pınar Akdemir, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, stated that the suspect is being prosecuted for very serious reasons and said: “A person who is being tried for the deaths of thirteen people should be kept in custody during the trial. The suspect, who is still in active service, is currently in a very powerful position. Can your court guarantee safety for us and for those serving as witnesses? Çitil should be immediately removed from his position and arrested, and we should keep his hands off of weapons. The case was moved to Çorum to protect the suspect but in fact, we are the ones who actually need protecting.” Akdemir continued, “Those who were in the suspect’s chain of command, as well as those who commanded Çitil, should also be here.” The court rejected the request to have Çitil arrested. Akdemir also demanded that the courts verify the intelligence reports drawn up by the suspect, who has not attended a single hearing, as well as check whether or not the Ministry of the Interior has opened any kind of investigation concerning Çitil. The panel of judges rejected the demand for the verification of the intelligence reports, and decided to write a document to the Ministry of the Interior in order to discover whether or not an investigation has been initiated about the suspect. Öndül said that the hearing was put off until 1 July and that if Çitil does not come to that hearing, the court will produce a decision to arrest him.

What happened?

In 1993-94 in the district of Derik, 13 villagers were disappeared and their remains were never found. A case was opened against Musa Çitil, who was the Gendarme Commander Brigadier General for Derik at the time. The case, which was opened at the Mardin High Criminal Court, was moved to Çorum at the request of the Ministry of Justice and with the confirmation of the High Court’s Fifth Penal Chamber, citing “security concerns.” In the indictment prepared for the case, Çitil is wanted on 13 separate counts of aggravated crime. The indictment also explains that Çitil has gone on record referring to the murdered villagers as “terrorists.” The first hearing in the case was held on 11 October 2012 in Mardin.

[1] News: Ayça Söylemez - Bianet [2] Photograph: Gazi Nogay