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stop the deportation of journalist kemal kutan to turkey

david morgan | 01.12.2007 03:27 | Migration | Repression | Terror War | World

A progressive journalist and activist held in Germany is under threat of extradition to Turkey where he would face an uncertain fate...

Last week during a visit at the detention centre in Germany where Kemal Kutan is being held, he told his mother and sister that he was facing extradition to Turkey. He said that if he was extradited his life would be in great danger. We, his immediate family, are deeply concerned for his wellbeing and fear what might happen to him if he is returned to Turkey.

Background information:
Kemal Kutan was arrested on October 29, 2007 while travelling by train from Stuttgart to Donausingen. Since then, due to the Warrant demanded by the Turkish state for his extradition, he had been in detention at Justizvollzugsanstalt in Konstanz, and now he has been transferred to Justizvollzugsanstajt, Karlsruhe prison.
Kemal was born in 1966 and has been actively involved in politics as a political activist and journalist. He was arrested and imprisoned between the years of 1983-1987 for his political ideas and beliefs. During his arrest he was subjected to torture, degrading treatment and during 5 years as a political prisoner he faced several attacks on his life in the prison. After being released in 1987 he started work as a journalist for a leftist newspaper called Halk Demokrasisi. In 1989, on the 1st of May ‘International Workers Day’ demonstration, while reporting for his newspaper, he witnessed the police shooting arbitrarily into the crowd which resulted in several people being wounded. On the same day he was arrested and imprisoned for 8 months for merely doing his job of reporting the events of that day. After his release he continued working for Halk Demokrasisi. The social and political climate during the late 1980s, and until the late 1990’s, meant that like many other journalists and political activists he was subjected to continuous harassment by the police, including death threats and kidnap attempts. In an environment where political assassinations, threats and disappearances were widespread, Kemal Kutan went into hiding in Turkey. Due to the intensification of threats both against himself and his family over the last 2 years in 2007 he felt the need to leave Turkey for Germany and seek political asylum.
Under all these difficult conditions Kemal Kutan never hid his personal ideas and political beliefs. He has worked very hard for ‘another Turkey’ where democracy, human rights and social justice will exist. It is his political commitment and continuous belief in his ideas that has made Kemal Kutan a threat to the Turkish state. Not only Kemal himself but all of his family have been subjected to degrading treatment, verbal insults and threats. His mother was imprisoned for several months and several of his brothers and sisters, due to threats and harassment, have had to leave Turkey and seek political refuge in Germany. On every occasion that our family has visited our hometown of Tunceli, we were told by local police and military that they will kill Kemal very soon. Knowing the political situation in Turkey this threat cannot be taken as mere verbal abuse. In fact some of his friends from the prisons and workplaces in Istanbul were killed by the Turkish state in June 2005.
Currently, the political and social environment in Turkey is in turmoil. There is an increase in human rights violations against individual Kurds, human rights activists, writers, academics and journalist and also against oppositional institutions such as Kurdish parties, the Democratic Society Party, (DTP), Human Rights Organizations and newspapers. The brutal assassination of writer and Armenian intellectual Hirant Dink is only one example of this.
No doubt Turkey will do its best to give diplomatic assurances to the German state in order to secure the extradition of Kemal Kutan to Turkey. However, these diplomatic assurances cannot guarantee that Kemal Kutan’s life will not be put in danger. Considering the latest situation in Turkey and the human rights conditions of the prisons it is possible that his life will be placed in great danger.
Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Kemal Kutan has the right to seek asylum and exercise his human rights in a free and democratic country. This obliges the German state to fulfil its own international obligations. Therefore, we demand that the extradition of Kemal Kutan should be stopped and that he be immediately released.

Kutan Family, November, 2007

Please send messages of protest to the following addresses:

German Embassy in London
23 Belgrave Square,London, SW1X 8PZ
Tel: 0 207 824 1300
Fax. 020 7824 1449

German Justice Minister: Ms. Zypries: Fax (0049) 1888/580 95 25

Human Rights Organisation (Germany): Fax: (0049) 5141/206 572

Proasyl PRO ASYL - National Working Group for Refugee in Germany
E:mail: Fax: 0049 69 230650

Please Copy to Campaign email address:

Possible Model Letter

Dear Sir/Madam
I am writing to express my deep concern and anxiety over the possible extradition of Kemal Kutan from Germany to Turkey. Kemal Kutan has held in a German Prison since he was arrested on October 29th. As is well known to all European Government’s Turkey’s human rights record over the last three decades ranks among the worst in the world. Kemal Kutan has long been a victim of the violation of these rights and has suffered torture, death threats and kidnap attempts by members of the Turkish police and military forces. I am deeply concerned that if he were sent back to Turkey his life would be placed in great danger.
I urge the German government to exercise its wisdom on this issue and to allow Kemal Kutan to leave prison and to exercise his right to freedom and basic human rights.


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david morgan
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