At the final hearing of the case regarding the murder of Musa Anter, who was assassinated in an extra judicial style killing in Diyarbakır on 20 September 1992, the court board dismissed the request for the case to be considered a crime against humanity and dropped the case. In the previous hearing, held on September 15, the court adjourned the case to 21 September 2022, one day after the statute of limitations would expire.
Mithat Sancar co chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said of the Musa Anter decision, “Impunity is a deep rooted state policy in this country,” arguing that the policy of impunity is a tool of domination and intimidation.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) announced the court decision with a comment, “This brutal murder was rewarded with impunity after a 30-year period during which justice was not served”. After the previous hearing on September 15, RSF called on the authorities to take action against the perpetrators and warned that dropping the case due to the statute of limitations would be further damaging to Turkey’s press freedom climate.
While the Kurdish conflict was at its peak in the 1990s, Turkey’s Gendarmerie Intelligence and Counter-terrorism Department (JITEM), the clandestine organisation of the deep state of whom the state denied its existence for a long time, was later indicted in numerous extrajudicial and unsolved murders, enforced disappearances and other crimes, but most of these cases resulted in dismissals or minimal sentencing.
The Musa Anter murder case was combined with the main JITEM case in 2014 and the case regarding the murder of Ayten Öztürk, who was killed by torture, in 2019. Due to the possibility of the statute of limitations, it was requested that the case be separated from other cases in 2021, but this request was denied.
The defendant’s lawyers joined the prosecution’s opinion that the Anter murder case should be separated from the JİTEM case and dropped due to the statute of limitations, and the court decided to drop both the Musa Anter and Ayten Öztürk cases.
After the court decision, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Mithat Sancar said that the policy of impunity has also been applied in similar cases under the pretext of the statute of limitations. “Impunity is a deep rooted state policy in this country,” said Sancar, arguing that the policy of impunity is a tool of domination and intimidation.
Emphasising that the struggle for justice continues and that those who wage this struggle will achieve a new results soon, the HDP co-chair said, “We will keep the voice and legacy of Ape Musa alive.”
Musa Anter’s son, Dicle Anter, said that the judiciary was purely political and added: “My father was killed for the second time.”
After the murder of Musa Anter on 20 September, 1992, no effective investigation was carried out until 2000. Anter’s family applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2000. The ECHR decided that the Turkish state violated Anter’s right to life and failed to conduct an adequate investigation.
Seventeen years after the murder, an investigation was launched in 2009 with a former hitman of JITEM, Abdülkadir Aygan, confessing that the leading staff of JITEM planned the murder of Musa Anter.
In 2013, 21 years after the murder, JITEM members were charged with murder in the first degree and inciting the people to an armed insurrection.