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Former Turkish student leader imprisoned in Croatia

(an information from the ICOR main coordinator), 3 June 2012

Mrs. Basak Sahin Duman, resident of Germany, faces deportation to Turkey

In Turkey a long term imprisonment awaits her due to her political activities as a student

In the morning of May 29, 2012, Basak Sahin Duman went by plane from Germany to Zagreb, Croatia. When she arrived at the airport of Zagreb, she was detained by the police. To her big surprise, the Croatian police claimed that an international warrant was been issued against her. Now, she is in custody pending deportation to Turkey, one of the most repressive regimes, with thousands of political prisoners, with regular torture of prisoners according to international human rights organizations like Amnesty International, Human Right Watch, and even the Council of Europe.

Why is a young Turkish woman, who is married since 2006 with a German citizen and lives currently in Germany, where she works as translator, detained and treated like a terrorist?

In order to understand that, we have to remember, that Turkey is not a democracy. In Turkey, even activities of democratic movements are imprisoned very easily and frequently. There are uncountable examples of trade-unionists, journalists, human right activists, students, Kurdish activists and even children who are in prison for “big crimes” such as going to a demonstration, writing an article oppositional to the regime, demanding democratic rights like freedom of opinion etc. The same happened to Mrs. Basak Sahin Duman.

Basak Sahin Duman, born in 1979 in Ankara, was studying at medical faculty of the University of Istanbul (IÜ). In the beginning of the semester 2002-2003, she was detained.

During the opening speech of the semester by the university president Kemal Alemdaroglu, she claimed the demand of a „democratic university“. According to the public observers, the police reacted very hard and detained her using a lot of violence.

This is only one of many examples, students in Turkey and Northern Kurdistan are experiencing when they claim free, democratic, scientific and autonomous universities.

On December 7, 2004, Basak participated at a student’s demonstration in Ankara marching to the parliament. The demonstration was a protest against the anti-terror law, which was debated in the parliament at that time. Many people have been detained, when the police attacked the students brutally and she was one of them. After being held in prison on remand for month, she was released. However the trial lasted until 2010.

Despite lack of any evidence, the 11th Court for Heavy trials of Ankara sentenced dozens of persons on April 22, 2010 to 224 years of prison in total for “being member of an illegal organization” and propaganda for an illegal organization”. Together with 24 others, Basak was sentenced to 7 years and 6 month. An application at the European Court of Human Rights against this court decision has been filed already on October 25, 2011 under the number 71667/11 because of violation of paragraphs 6, 7, 10 and 11.

However not enough with this strange understanding of democracy and terrorism in Turkey, now the Croatian state, being candidate member of the European Union, is acting similar by imprisoning her and threaten to extradite her to Turkey, where long years of prisons and torture awaits her. Germany, the country she lives and has a right of residence, seems to have no hurry to save her from this more than critical situation too.

Since May 30, Basak Sahin Duman is in extradition jail and the process in which it will be decided if she will or will not be extradited has started. When being confronted with the danger of deportation to Turkey, she applied for political asylum in Croatia. However, the Croatian police untruly claimed that there is no political asylum in Croatia! The court confirmed unofficially that she applied for political asylum, however it is still uncertain, if her application has been officially recorded. Moreover, there are already several court decisions accepting political asylum in France, Germany and Switzerland for people sentenced in the same case as Basak.

Her situation is still very critical, however the media and several NGOs in Croatia started already to inform about her case and launched protests notes. We call on each person to solidarize with Mrs. Basak Sahin Duman and protest against her imprisonment in Croatia and against her deportation to Turkey.

Please send protest notes, letters, faxes, or emails to the following addresses and demand her immediate release:

Consulate general of the Republic of Croatia in Berlin
Ahornstraße 4, 10787 Berlin, GERMANY
Phone: 0049 30 2191 5514, 0049 30 2362 8955(Cons.)
Fax 0049 30 2362 8965, 2362 8967(Cons.)



Government of the Republic of Croatia

Address: Trg svetog Marka 2, 10 000 Zagreb

Phone: 01 4569 222

Fax: 01 6303 023



Consulate general of the Republic of Croatia in Berlin in Frankfurt

Address: Am Weingarten 25, 60487 Frankfurt/M, Germany
Phone: 0049 69 7071 005

Fax: 0049 69 7071 011



Federal Foreign Office of Germany
Fax +49-3018-17-3402
Postal Address: Auswärtiges Amt, D-11013 Berlin, Germany


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