Fırat Şişman, a member of the People’s Defence Units (HPG) on 10 April was pronounced dead by Turkey’s Ministry of Interior.
The ministry shared a statement that some HPG fighters were “eliminated” by the Turkish armed forces in an armed clash in a rural region named Besta between Şırnak (Şirnex) and Siirt (Sêrt) provinces in eastern Turkey. Later, however, it was revealed that the Kurdish fighter was captured “wounded” and reportedly detained by Turkish armed forces.
Şişman’s lawyers, family members and the Human Rights Association’s Istanbul Branch chair Gülseren Yoleri on Monday issued a press statement in Istanbul about the recent situation of Şişman’s disappearance. It stated that: “For past 31 days, neither his family or lawyers have heard any information about Şişman – who was reportedly detained whilst wounded – despite all efforts to find him”.
It was also emphasized that his family and lawyers are highly concerned about his safety and situation since there has been no news clarifying whether Şişman is “dead or alive”.
“We have suspicions that he might be undergoing torture. The fact that neither his family nor his lawyers have been given any information is actually a violation of the ban on torture”, Yoleri said. Şişman family’s lawyer Newroz Uysal noted their concern that Şişman might have been subject to an attempt of “forced disappearance”.
“First they told us that Fırat Şişman was dead, then they stated that he was caught ‘wounded’. Now, they do not share any information about his whereabouts”, Uysal said. “This process is unlawful in all aspects”, he stated.
Uysal raised the following questions:
- “He was captured over a month ago, yet why are we and his family members not provided with any information about him since?
- Where is Fırat Şişman being held and what are the conditions he is being kept under?
- Şırnak Criminal Court of Peace told us that Fırat Şişman was captured on 9 April, but he allegedly signed a paper stating that he did not want to see his family members or lawyers. How can a person in an intensive care unit do that?”
The family also filed a criminal complaint about the Turkish Ministry of Interior Affairs over their conflicting and misleading statements, Uysal clarified.
Şişman’s family members and lawyers continue their struggle to find him and urge societal and public interest organisations and campaigners to be sensitive over his case, as it critically relates to a risk of forced disappearance and possible torture.