Orhan Kemal Cengiz, one of the lawyers of the persons murdered during the Malatya Massacre in April 2007, is still receiving threats.
The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.
As it is known, German citizen Tilman Geske, Necati Aydın and Uğur Yüksel were murdered with a cut to throats in Zirve Publishing office on 18th April 2007. The case against the five suspects is still being dealt by 3rd assize court of Malatya. The victims are represented by lawyers who are also human rights defenders from all around Turkey.
Lawyer Orhan Kemal Cengiz, who is also a long term legal counselor for Protestants of Turkey and a lawyer representing the victims, had played a very active role in the preparation process before the case and also establishing a team of lawyers.
After receiving an information letter, Orhan Kemal Cengiz received threats in different forms and has been targeted by the local media. Orhan Kemal Cengiz has applied to the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office, and the threats are ongoing through a dark network of relations around the case.
These events were started with an information letter signed as “Ali Aslan,” received by Lawyer Orhan Kemal Cengiz in November 2007. The letter, which has been submit to the Malatya Prosecutor’s Office, accuses high ranking gendarmerie officials, an academician, and an administrator of a political party to solicit the murder.
After this letter, a news item originated from Ihlas News Agency and published by local newspapers in Malatya revealed the dark network around the case. In the mentioned news article the lawyers who are to defend the rights of the victims were presented as criminals and a high number of “details” about the case were revealed. Some of these details are not possible to get without listening the phone conversations and electronic communications of the lawyers.
Moreover, a criminal information letter submitted to the authorities presented lawyer Orhan Kemal Cengiz as the planner of massacre before the second hearing of the case. What is very noteworthy in this letter is that it included information based on serious intelligence. The letter was written on behalf of a Protestant and a “dark” picture was drawn about the lawyer claiming that he works for secret intelligence organizations.
It is seen that a lawyer and a human rights defender for fifteen years, Orhan Kemal Cengiz, has been a target for some circles which do not want the victims of the case to be defended by such a powerful group of lawyers.
The national legislation in Turkey, including the constitution, legal profession code, and criminal codes; requires eliminating the threats against the lawyer and providing necessities to fulfill his legal duties.
The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (9 April 1998) states the responsibilities of the state in identified circumstances.
As human rights defenders, we invite the government to eliminate threats against lawyer Orhan Kemal Cengiz, protect his right to life and freedom, and bring the persons behind the threats before the court.
Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly
Human Rights Association
Organization of Human Rights and Solidarity with Oppressed People