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Tahir Elçi, murder without culprits

the Kurdish lawyer killed in Diyarbakir

Tahir Elçi, Kurdish lawyer and human rights activist, killed in Diyarbakir

Tahir Elçi, Kurdish lawyer and human rights activist, killed in Diyarbakir

The investigation on Diyarbakir Bar Association President Tahir Elçi’s murder has not revealed the perpetrators. The report by the panel of five experts, who searched on the crime scene, said it was "medically or physically" impossible to determine, with the existing evidences, the conditions of the shooting.

Elçi, a Kurdish lawyer and human rights activist, was killed on November 28, 2015 during a firefight between unknown persons and police officers, while he was speaking to reporters denouncing the damages caused to the historic buildings by the fighting between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the state forces in the Sur district, the ancient part of Diyarbakir, the "capital" of the Kurdish region, which since last summer is under severe pressure because of the curfews with devastating effects on civilians, villages and cities.

The crime scene investigation after the shooting had been interrupted twice because of the clashes and had been completed four months later, on March 17, by the gendarmerie criminal experts with the participation of the Chief Public Prosecutor Ramazan Solmaz and members of the local Bar Association. But the area had been damaged by the fightings and was no longer the same. The experts said Elçi was shot from a long distance and indicated eight possible shooting angles, but were unable to medically or physically determine by which weapon, from which point and in which position the lawyer had been killed, according to the report.

Elçi had distinguished himself defending those detained, tortured and victims of enforced disappearances, cooperating with international organizations and taking cases to the European Court of Human Rights. He had also been among the founding members of Amnesty International in Turkey. Diyarbakir Bar Association had urged an effective and independent investigation on his murder, that was carried out by experts.

Elçi has been awarded the “Freedom and Equality Prize” by Turkey’s Human Rights Association (İnsan Hakları Derneği - IHD), an NGO founded in 1986 and based in Ankara). The award is usually given to public figures and activists dedicating their lives to the fight for greater freedom, like the academics punished by the Turkish government for signing the appeal to cease clashes in the southeast, the Kurdish news-agency Rudaw said. 

by Viviana Vestrucci

13 May 2016

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