Fears of suicide prompt Evren family to remove coup leader’s firearms

The prosecutor seeks life imprisonment for Sept.12 coup leader, Evren, in the indictment submitted to the Ankara 12th High Criminal Court earlier this month. (Photo: Cihan)

January 19, 2012, Thursday/ 18:07:00

The family of the leader of the Sept. 12, 1980 coup, Kenan Evren, for whom prosecutors are seeking life imprisonment, has removed all weapons from Evren’s home for fear that he might attempt suicide before the first hearing of his trial in April.

According to the Vatan daily, a writer by the name of Reha Muhtar contacted an acquaintance of the Evren family -- whose name was not revealed in the news story -- who said the family is worried about former Chief of General Staff and former President Evren possibly taking is own life. The family has, therefore, taken all the guns from his home.

Even though the former president’s body is old and worn out, the mind of 95-year-old Evren is still clear, according to Vatan.

The daily says Evren is very much annoyed about having to stand trial for the 1980 military coup as he recalled getting the support of 92 percent of the voters in a 1982 referendum on the coup. According to the report of the Evren’s acquaintance to whom Muhtar talked Evren said, “How could it have come to this [standing trail] after I received the support of 92 percent of the voters?”

While Evren is annoyed with the 12 Sept. case, the victims of torture activities that took place in jails during the coup era are pleased to see the former president stand trial.

One of the victims, Adnan Baran, told the Cihan News Agency that he is very happy with the trial, saying: “My brother and several other acquaintances died because of torture in the aftermath of the coup. Apart from the perpetrators of the coup, all soldiers with a coup mentality should be brought to justice, too. The military should rid itself of such soldiers.”

Sadık Erol, yet another victim, said that everyone who took part in the coup should pay for their crimes. Stating that he was tortured when he was only 18 years old, Erol said, “By this trial, Turkey is facing one the dark chapters of its history.

The first hearing in the trial of the leaders of the bloody coup d’état is slated for April 4, officials announced on Wednesday.

The indictment, which came after a yearlong investigation, was submitted to the Ankara 12th High Criminal Court earlier this month and seeks life imprisonment for the leaders of the 1980 military coup, Gen. Evren and Gen. Tahsin Şahinkaya. The court also announced on Wednesday that travel bans have been imposed on the two suspects and that police are authorized to use force if they refuse to attend the first hearing.

The indictment that was prepared by Specially Authorized Public Prosecutor Kemal Çetin claims that Evren was aware of all incidents of torture that were committed on dozens of people in jail or in custody during the coup era. Evren, on the other hand, rejects these claims in his statements, saying he was not aware of torture in jails and attributes the torture to the guards’ cruelty. Based on statements made by Evren on various occasions on the torture incidents, the prosecutor claims in the indictment that even though Evren says he was not the perpetrator of such torture incidents, he tried to legitimize torture in jails by saying such torture incidents happened in almost in every country in the world. In one statement Evren says: “The US is doing the same thing to the Iraqi people in jails. The lieutenants in jail made them [people who were arrested because of their anti-coup ideas] read the İstiklâl Marşı [Independence March] and ‘Our Pledge,’ [the national oath]. Prosecutor Çetin says in the indictment that Evren, by making such statements, in fact, confessed to his crime and that he was aware of all the torture in prison. Çetin also claims that Evren tries to downplay the torture as being something acceptable by referring to torture of Iraqis at the hands of American soldiers. In the indictment the prosecutor also notes that the suspects were laying the groundwork their military coup by deliberately not intervening and put a stop to terrorist activity in the late 1970s.

The prosecutor also included statements made by the prime minister at the time, Süleyman Demirel, that support the claim that the coup perpetrators were laying the groundwork for a military coup long before they actually toppled the government. In the remarks that Çetin included in the indictment, Demirel said he had asked the army on many occasions to intervene and stop the bloodshed in the country and that they purposely refrained from doing so. The former prime minister said: “While the blood shed continued all the way up to Sept. 11, it suddenly stopped on the morning of Sept. 13. How were they able to halt the violence in just a day? If they had wanted to, they could have stopped the terrorist activities before the coup, but they didn’t intervene because they wanted to overthrow the government and seize power in the country.”

According to the indictment, a total of 191 people died because of “inhumane” acts in the aftermath of the coup while in jail or in custody.

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