(Nov 08, 2012) On November 1, 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) – a body of 18 independent experts responsible for monitoring implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (in force on Mar. 23, 1976, Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights website) by its State parties – issued a criticism of Turkey for using the country's "vague" Anti-Terrorism Law to prosecute activists, journalists, and lawyers. (Sarah Posner, UN Rights Committee Criticizes Turkish Counterterrorism Laws, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST (Nov. 2, 2012); Stephanie Nebehay, Turkey Using Anti-Terrorism Law to Quash Debate - U.N.In the view of the HRC, Turkey should address the vagueness of the Anti-Terrorism Law's definition of terrorism by limiting its application to offenses "that are indisputably terrorist offences," by guaranteeing that the prosecution of terrorist acts fully respects all the legal protections under ICCPR article 14, and by ensuring that the transitional legal provisions be consistently applied. (HRC, supra.)In its November observations on Turkey's initial report to the HRC's 106th session, a session that examined the human rights records of five countries, the HRC expressed concern that several provisions of the Turkish Anti-Terrorism Law are incompatible with the ICCPR. It criticized in particular:As for due process, the HRC expressed concern over Turkey's "widespread use of lengthy pre-trial detention of up to ten years for terrorism-related offenses and five years for other offenses, including three one-year extensions, largely contributing to the problem of overcrowding of prisons," as well as detainees' lack of access to an effective mechanism for challenging the lawfulness of such detention. (Id.) Under the Anti-Terrorism Law, a suspect may receive the assistance of one defense lawyer during the detention period. However, a detained suspect's right to consult a lawyer may be limited for 24 hours at the prosecutor's request and by the decision of a judge, although interrogation is not permitted during this period. (Law on Fight Against Terrorism, art. 10(b).) The HRC is critical of the fact that in practice defendants are not always assured prompt access to a lawyer; it noted that the risk of torture is highest during the first 24 hours of custody. (HRC, supra; Nebehay, supra.
It has been reported that at present almost 100 journalists are imprisoned in Turkey, "in addition to thousands of lawyers, activists, politicians and military officials …in prison mainly on charges for plotting against the government or supporting Kurdish militants." (Posner, supra.) According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, moreover, Turkey has incarcerated more reporters than China, Eritrea, or Iran. (Nebehay, supra; About CPJ (last visited Nov. 6, 2012).)(a) the vagueness of the definition of a terrorist act;(b) the far-reaching restrictions imposed on the right to due process; and(c) the high number of cases in which human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and even children are charged under the Anti-Terrorism Law for the free expression of their opinions and ideas, in particular in the context of non-violent discussions of the Kurdish issue. (HRC, Concluding Observations on the Initial Report of Turkey Adopted by the Committee at Its 106th Session, 15 October to 2 November [Advance Unedited Version]; Nebehay, supra.)
[ed notes also see..
www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSmynbm2qMYSep 4, 2012