On 27th December 2011, Halil Karapaşaoğlu wrote about his experiences during his compulsory military service within the Nicosia Lokmaci Military Unit of the Turkish Cypriot Army which is under the control of Turkish Army and the Chief Commander of the Turkish Cypriot army who is appointed directly by Ankara. A day after his article, titled as “No to Violence Against Lokmaci Soldiers”, was published in various newspapers, he was arrested last week at the Ledra Checkpoint, while he was going to his work in the southern part of Cyprus. For revealing the torture and maltreatments carried out by his superiors in the army, he was taken in for a so-called testimony and was only released after many hours.
Karapaşaoğlu had already completed his military service during the time he wrote the above-mentioned article. However, because he had not yet received his official discharge papers, he was charged thrice for crossing the border, issuing a public release and damaging the reputation of the Turkish Cypriot Army during his military service.
On 5th January 2011, Halil Karapaşaoğlu’s trial took place in the Turkish Cypriot Army Headquarters. A police barricade prevented concerned activist, political parties and trade unions representative, who wanted to follow the trial and give support to Karapaşaoğlu, from doing so. In violation of basic human rights and constitutional rights, Karapaşaoğlu was denied the right to have a lawyer, and was sentenced to 10 days in military prison for “causing discontentment” and “disobedience” in what is in fact an exercise of the very basic human rights, freedom of thought and speech.
Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership are directly responsible for this action.
We demand immediate withdrawal of all charges and immediate release of Halil Karapaşaoğlu.
We thus call upon all political groups and organizations of Europe to react and show their reaction directly to Ankara, to the President of Turkey, the Prime Minister of Turkey and the Chief Commander of the Turkish Army and show international solidarity to Halil Karapaşaoğlu who is in prison.