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Freedom for Sandra Bakutz

Austrian human rights activist Sandra Bakutz was arrested at
Istanbul's Ataturk airport on February 9th whilst entering the
country to observe a trial. As soon as the plane landed police
entered the plane and removed her from the aircraft taking her
straight into police custody.

As a result of an imprisonment order issued by Ankara's No.2 State
Security Court (also known as the Serious Crimes Court) in September
2001, she was transported to Pasakapisi Prison. Although it is still
not clear what specific crime she is being charged with, she has been
imprisoned accused of "membership of the illegal DHKP-C
organisation". Already the authorities have said that her alleged
involvement in a protest in Brussels several years ago in opposition
to the visit of the then Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem is
evidence against her.

Sandra has made regular trips to Turkey over the years to observe the
human rights abuses carried out by the state. On a previous visit to
Turkey in 1998 Sandra was detained and threatened by plainclothes
police in Ankara when she went with a delegation to protest against

Sandra went to Turkey on this occasion as part of a European wide
delegation to observe the trial of 64 people that were arrested in an
operation in April last year. The defendants include lawyers,
journalists, musicians, students and workers all of whom were working
for legal institutions at the time of their arrests: all of them
were tortured whilst in custody and are now being held in F-type
isolation prisons. The sole evidence against them consists of floppy
disks that the police claim contains a membership list of the banned
DHKP-C. The police say that they found these disks whilst carrying
searches of houses on April 1st.

One of the documents containing names that the police claim to have
found on one of the discs is dated February 20th, but the man
recorded as its author was arrested by police on February 19th and
detained until the 24th. Under Turkish law, police are obligated to
seal confiscated documents such as these discs and send them to the
courts immediately. However, between the time of their confiscation
on April 1st, and the date they were sent to the court, May 3rd, the
discs were not sealed, so providing ample time and opportunity for
the documents to be interfered with. The files used for the trial
consist only of printouts from the discs, so neither the judges nor
the lawyers have had the opportunity to see the actual discs

In an added twist last December a man was arrested at Ataturk airport
in Istanbul whilst trying to fly to Berlin to participate in a
conference about prison isolation. He was detained at the airport as
the police claimed his name was on the never ending list even though
he had not been mentioned before in any of the court hearings.
Sandra Bakutz was a participant in that very same conference that
also included former Irish prisoners, representatives of Basque
prisoners, family members of prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay,
Palestinians and other activists from across Europe. Sandra also
came to England last year to make a contribution to the European
Social Forum in London where she spoke against prison isolation and
European anti-terror laws.

Sandra has now found herself on trial in the very same courthouse
that she was intending to observe a trial. Let this silence those
that claim Turkey has improved its human rights record. 118 people
have died in the prisons in the last five years in the struggle
against isolation cells, whilst the EU chose to be complicit in this
abuse Sandra didn't.

Let us not permit Sandra Bakutz to be imprisoned and condemned in
Turkey. Her struggle against human rights violations is a legitimate
struggle. Let us not allow this struggle to be criminalised by her
arrest by the Turkish authorities. We call on all people and
organisations which support human rights to make her cause their own
and work for her release.
Please write a protest and send it to the following addresses:

Austrian General Consulate
Telefax: (+90/212) 262 26 22
E-Mail: istanbul-gk@bmaa.gv.at

President of Turkey:
Mr. Ahmet Necdet Sezer,
06100 Ankara,
Fax: +90 312 468 5026

Prime Minister:
Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan
TC Basbakanlik Bakanligi
Ankara, Turkey
Fax: + 90 312 417 0476

Interior Minister:
Mr Abdulkadir Aksu
Ministry of Interior
Içisleri Bakanligi
06644 Ankara, Turkey
Telegram: Interior Minister, Ankara, Turkey
Fax: + 90 312 418 17 95

Justice Minister :
Mr Cemil Cicek
Ministry of Justice
Adalet Bakanligi
06659 Ankara, Turkey
Telegram: Justice Minister, Ankara, Turkey
Fax: + 90 312 418 5667

Foreign Minister:
Mr Abdullah Gül
Office of the Prime Minister,
06573 Ankara, Turkey
Fax: + 90 312 417 04 76

Police Chief:
Mr Gokhan Aydiner
Emniyet Genel Müdürlügü
Dikmen Caddesi No : 89
Dikmen / ANKARA
Fax: + 90 312 231 96 05

Police chief of Istanbul
Mr. Celalettin Cerrah
Fax : 00 90 212 636 18 32

Please send any copies of your protests to the following addresses:
isolation@post.com, info@tayad.de
The International Platform Against Isolation will translate messages
Into Turkish and pass them on to those to those responsible for the

We will keep you informed about the latest situation of Sandra Bakutz
and of any planned activities in due course.


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