The Dargeçit JİTEM Case

In the enquiry held concerning the enforced disappearance of one specialist sergeant and three children between 29 October 1995 and March 8 1996, a total of eight persons in the Dargeçit township of Mardin, the first formal criminal charge was ready on October 30, 2014.

The criminal charge required that the following individuals be charged with ‘’premeditated murder’’: Mardin Gendarmerie Commando Battalion Commander Hurşit İmren, Dargeçit Township Gendarmerie Commander Mehmet Tire, Dargeçit Center Gendarmerie Guard Commander Mahmut Yılmaz, Aide to the Gendarmerie Guard Commander  Haydar Topçam and Specialist Sergeant Çavuş Kerim Şahin. However, of the suspects whose names were present in the criminal charge, it was decided that 16 persons, most of them village guards, did not need to be prosecuted and hence the enforced disappearance of Hikmet Kaya was not included in the file.

Upon the objection to the decision by the Mardin branch of the Human Rights Organization, Midyat Criminal Court of Peace accepted the objection partly and although it refused the application concerning Hikmet Kaya on grounds of insufficient evidence, it accepted that the decision not to prosecute the other suspects be overturned and that an additional criminal charge be prepared. With the second criminal charge Faruk ÇatakMahmut AyazNaif ÇelikRamazan SavcıKemal KayaMehmet AcarFaik AcarHüseyin AltunışıkMehmet Emin ÇelikSadık ÇelikFethullah ÇelikOsman Demir, Bahattin Ergel  were also included in the case.

The case was transferred to Adıyaman even before it began.

Following the first hearing held on October 1, 2015, The 1st High Penal Court of Adıyaman asked that permission be obtained from the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors for the trial of defendant Mehmet Tire.

Families of victims and joint attorneys living in Dargeçit could not attend the second hearing held on December 29, 2015 due to the prevailing curfew. The attorneys of the victims’ families asked for the recusation of the court board that had asked for permission from the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors.

The third hearing of The Dargeçit JİTEM Court Case held on May 3, 2016 was marked by the ascertainment that in the investigation of the diggings, the bones found definitely to belonged to Davut Altınkaynak and Nedim Akyön* according to the report of the Forensic Medicine Office. In the hearing held at the Adıyaman 1st Penal Court, Kerim Şahin and Fethullah Çelik of the defendants, gave their statement through the intermediary of the SEGBİS system. The plaintiff’s lawyers asked that the defendants who had not been brought to court for security reasons be brought to court and give their testimony face-to-face. The request was denied by the court.

During the next hearing held on July 14, 2016, the court board decided that defendant Mehmet Tire’s defense be taken via the SEGBİS system.

During the hearing held on October 3, 2016, the court heard the evidence from the kith and kin of those enforced to disappear. Abdurrahman Coşkun’s brother Abdulgafur Coşkun, Davut Altınkaynak’s brother’s wife Kania Altınkaynak, Nedim Akyön’s brother’s wife Zeliha Akyön and Süleyman Seyhan’s wife Mümine Seyhan testified as witnesses to the events. Arguing that the court had not done its job  of hearing the plea of the defendant Mehmet Tire via the audio-visual communication system as had been decided in the hearing held on July 14, 2016, the families of those enforced to disappear, asked that all the defendants be kept under arrest during the legal proceedings, or, that being impossible, they be kept under survelliance and forbidden to exit the country. While the court refused to put the defendants under arrest, it gave the decision of judicial control for all the defendants and forbid travel outside the country. It was also decided that Mehmet Tire be forced to be present to give his testimony via the audio-visual system.

During the December 5, 2016 hearing, in his testimony via the audio-visual communication system, Mehmet Tire claimed that he was not in Dargeçit at the time of the event, that his eye was hurt and hence he had to have an operation, followed by a leave of absence for two months for recuperation. Also heard as witnesses during the hearing were Davut Altınkaynak’s (13) mother, Hayat Altınkaynak and plaintiff Emin Coşkun. While defendant Mehmet Tire’s demand to be exempt from the court proceedings was denied, the court put a ban on all defendants to exit the country until the end of the trial.

During the hearing held on March 13, 2017, those who participated in the current hearing and the witnesses gave their statements. In his opinion, the prosecutor demanded that the file being heard at the 5th Penal Court of Ankara be joined with that of the case file being heard in Kızıltepe JİTEM Trial. Of the solicitors who attended the hearing, Lawyer Erdal Kuzu defended that, at the point of making the decision the court had reached, it was not beneficial to join the two cases. The court, in its interim decision accepted the opinion of the prosecutor to join the two cases; and furthermore, to continue the trial with its original file number 2014/367 given by the Ankara 5th Penal Court. The file was sent to the 5th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation to resolve the conflict concerning the issue between the courts.

Read more about the disappearances of Davut Altınkaynak, Nedim Akyön and from the Database on Enforced Disappearances (in Turkish only).

Case Start Date

01.10.2015

Court Name

1st High Penal Court of Adıyaman

Indictment

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Defendants

Mardin Gendarmerie Commando Battalion Commander Hurşit İmren, Dargeçit Township Gendarmerie Commander Mehmet Tire Gendarmerie Guard Commander Mahmut Yılmaz, Aide to the Gendarmerie Guard Commander Haydar Topçam, driver at the Gendarmerie Guard Kerim Şahin. Also additional criminal charges were brought against: Faruk Çatak, Mahmut Ayaz, Naif Çelik, Ramazan Savcı, Kemal Kaya, Mehmet Acar, Faik Acar, Hüseyin Altunışık, Mehmet Emin Çelik, Sadık Çelik, Fethullah Çelik, Osman Demir, Bahattin Ergel who are now also among the defendants in the law suit.

Victims

Süleyman Seyhan, Nedim Akyön, Mehmet Emin Aslan, Seyhan Doğan, Davut Altınkaynak, Abdurrahman Olcay, Abdurrahman Coşkun and Bilal Batırır

Related ECHR Decisions

Case of Seyhan v. Turkey (in French)

Videos

Hayat Altınkaynak: Mother of Davut Altınkaynak