Ankara prosecutors to examine Kayasu’s indictment against coup leader Evren

Ankara prosecutors to examine Kayasu’s indictment against coup leader Evren

Kenan Evren (C)

June 02, 2011, Thursday/ 17:05:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

The Specially Authorized Ankara Deputy Prosecutor's Office, which late last month summoned two of the architects of the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup to testify in an investigation into the atrocities committed during the coup era, has asked former public prosecutor Sacit Kayasu to forward a copy of an indictment he had prepared against Kenan Evren, the leader of the bloody coup.

Evren is both a former chief of General Staff and seventh president of Turkey. Kayasu was fired in 2003 because he had asked a now-dissolved State Security Court (DGM) in Ankara to prosecute Evren for coup atrocities. Kayasu took his case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) because he had no right of appeal in Turkey. The ECtHR fined Turkey 120,000 euros to be paid to Kayasu as compensation, as well as ordering Kayasu's reinstatement. The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) recently reinstated Kayasu.

The prosecutor's officer also asked Parliament, the Ministry of Justice, the Prime Ministry and the Defense Ministry to send it copies of decisions made by Evren and his team after the 1980 coup. In addition, the office sent a notice to the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office to interrogate Tahsin Şahinkaya, who was the commander of the Air Forces at the time. Şahinkaya was hospitalized at the Gülhane Military Academy of Medicine (GATA) only one day after he was summoned to give testimony as part of the investigation into the 1980 coup, most probably to avoid a future trial.

The investigation into the bloody coup was launched after a constitutional amendment package was adopted in a referendum on Sept. 12, 2010 -- which is coincidentally the anniversary of the coup. The package introduced many changes to the Constitution, including the removal of a temporary article that had been inserted by the generals after the coup, providing immunity from prosecution on coup-related charges to the general. Turkey's current Constitution was drafted in the aftermath of the coup and adopted in a referendum in 1982 with 92 percent voter support.

Kayasu said he was happy to learn that an indictment he had prepared against Evren will be examined by the Specially Authorized Ankara Deputy Prosecutor's Office. The office may decide to use the indictment against the coup leaders after it is examined. “I argued in the indictment that Evren had committed a constitutional crime. There was little time then before the statute of limitations for Evren and other coup leaders expired,” he noted. The coup leaders had expected to be protected by a statute of limitations in 2000, 20 years after the coup. However, with Kayasu's indictment, the statute of limitations for the coup generals was extended another 10 years.

Lawyer: Evren does not know what he is accused of

Evren's lawyer, Ömer Nihat Özgün, visited the prosecutor's office on Wednesday to ask prosecutors to interrogate his client in his home. He said Evren is too old and in too poor a state of health to go to a prosecutor's office to give testimony. Evren is now 94 years old.

Speaking to reporters after his visit to the prosecutor's office, the lawyer said: “Evren is sorry that he was called to testify. But his being sorry is not a legal obstacle before his testimony. He will testify for sure. He is obliged to testify when and where he is asked to.”

The lawyer in addition said the coup leader does not know what he is accused of. “He does not know what he is accused of. I do not know, either. We do not know what kind of questions he will be asked during the interrogation. But I think he will be able to respond to any question,” Özgün added.

The Specially Authorized Ankara Deputy Prosecutor's Office announced on Thursday that Evren would testify in his home. Ankara Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Hüseyin Görüşen stated that the coup general would testify in his Ankara home either next Monday or Tuesday due to health reasons. Evren is currently residing at a military housing complex in the Turkish capital.

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