FO (Risk, Service as village guard) Turkey CG  UKIAT 00042
Date of hearing: 19 February 2004
Date Determination notified: 27 February 2004
|SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT||RESPONDENT|
This is an appeal by a Kurdish citizen of Turkey against the decision of an adjudicator, Mrs TI Rabin, sitting at Taylor House on 16 January 2003, dismissing his appeal on both asylum and human rights grounds. Leave was given on grounds of appeal which included four points, and it is easiest to deal with the third and fourth first.
The appellant stated that he had known his girlfriend for 8 months but that they had been close for two months. When asked how he saw their future he stated that he could not say what would happen and was unsure whether they would live together.
14. The appellant stated that he became involved with HADEP at the age of 15. He stated that between 1991 and 1992 he was picked up by the police for questioning at least six times. In his statement he claimed that on some of those occasions he was simply questioned whilst on other occasions he was beaten and kicked. He also stated that he was pounded with water cannon. He stated that he was arrested on his own three times and on other occasions he was arrested with others. In his record of interview he claimed that he was detained for 10 hours.
15. The appellant stated that he was involved with violent activities for HADEP for some years. He maintained in his interview that he was involved in violence against the gendarmes in 1998. At the hearing he first claimed that he was involved in violent activities in 1990 and possibly 1991, but then admitted that he had never been involved in violent acts but had only been a back-up carrying. There appears to be a gap there which appears to relate to a claim that he had made that he had been carrying arms and ammunition.
16. The appellant stated that the first time he was arrested in 1991/1992 he was detained for a month. He said that he was arrested at the same time as a man named Hussain Coku who was released and found dead one month later in the mountains. He also stated that another person with whom he had been arrested on one occasion had been found dead after his release. The appellant stated that he went to Ankara in 1992 as he was tired of being constantly harassed and beaten by the police. He stated that he worked as a builders' labourer and remained politically active. He stated that he came to the notice of the police, although he was not arrested, and decided to return to Elbistan in March 1993. At the hearing the appellant stated that he had been arrested whilst in Ankara when delivering leaflets.
18. The appellant stated that he was arrested again one week after his return to Elbistan when he was taken from the family home by 10 or 15 soldiers. He stated that he was taken to the army barracks where he was detained for seven months and then released. He claimed that he was tortured by kicking, that he was put into a tank of excrement where his head was held under ten times. He later claimed that he was held upside down. He stated that he was detained for seven months without charge or the opportunity to see a lawyer. This was in contrast with his assertion at the hearing that he was sentenced to seven months imprisonment as a punishment for what he did.
19. The appellant stated that he left Elbistan again in October 1993 when he went to Izmir to stay with relatives. He claimed that he was actively involved with HADEP by distributing leaflets and putting up posters. His relatives were also involved and they were arrested. The appellant stated that he supported himself as a building labourer. He stated that he was arrested again in 1995 when he was held for a month before performing his military service.
20. The appellant claimed that he was ill-treated in the army as a result of being a Kurd. He said that he was only given menial tasks and was punished by being placed in solitary confinement. He stated that he was in the army for two years and left in August 1996. He stated he returned to Elbistan where he found life difficult and went to Russia to work as a labourer. He said that he remained there for four months but at the hearing he stated that he was in Russia for a year and that he left because he did not like the climate.
21. The appellant claimed that he returned to his village in March 1999 and that he was stopped by the gendarmes while visiting his father. He stated that his father persuaded the gendarmes that he would persuade the appellant to help the gendarmes and act as a village guard.
The adjudicator then gives details of the appellant's departure for this country, which took place in July 1999 with money provided by his father, who sent him here by way of Istanbul in February 2000.
|at paragraph 15||in terms of whether the appellant had been involved in violence himself or not;|
|at paragraph 17||as to whether he had been arrested in Ankara in 1992 or not;|
|at paragraph 18||as to whether his seven months detention in 1993 had been of an administrative kind or under the sentence of a court, military or otherwise.|
As regards the date of the death of Koku, this was in 1993. I did not say in interview that this was in 1998. I was not asked in interview when Koku had been killed. I was asked when I started violent activity and I replied in 1998.
That year of 1998 has been crossed out by the person who took the statement or submitted it and replaced with '1988'. This certainly seems to fit in with the next sentence which reads:
I did not know why the record of interview states 1998 but I assume it was an error on the part of the interpreter who himself told me that he was from Cyprus. I would not have said Koku died in 1998 when I had said in an earlier statement that he died some time earlier.
The adjudicator clearly did not take any equivocation as to the date of those events against the appellant, and there is a basis for that allowance to be made, in the passages we have read out from the statement.
We sincerely apologise for the late submission. We are aware that the appellant's bundle of papers was to be served 14 days in advance of the hearing. We experienced problems in obtaining the arrest warrant which constitutes a significant part of the appellant's case. The arrest warrant was with the appellant's previous legal representatives and we did not receive it until 6 February 2004, please see attached evidence. This refers to a letter from the previous solicitors dated 5 February. Once we had received the arrest warrant we immediately took steps to obtain a translation which we received on 12 February 2004 and subsequently took instructions regarding the document on 13 February 2004.
In the past individuals recruited as village guards have sometimes been caught in the cross-fire. On the one hand their refusal to serve as village guards could be interpreted as implicit support for the PKK while on the other hand their acceptance of the office could make them PKK targets. Since the withdrawal of PKK fighters from Turkey at the end of 1999 there has been practically no further pressure to speak of from the PKK. Now that the recruitment of village guards has ceased this issue is no longer of any great importance. In the past refusal to serve as a village guard never used to lead to sanctions from the national authority. Pressure from local authorities following refusal to serve as a village guard can be avoided by settling elsewhere, for instance in one of the major cities outside south-east Turkey. This also applies to persons who are under pressure from the local community because they agreed in the past to serve as a village guard.
That disposes of all the heads of the appellant's claim and the appeal is dismissed.