Eskişehir, Nov 6 () - Some eight defendants without arrest, sued for 20 unsolved murders having shaken the Cizre district of southeastern province of Şırnak and the region between 1993 and 1995, were all acquitted by the Turkish court, sparking an outrage amongst victims' families and their lawyers.
The cases, known as JİTEM cases invovle seven suspects, including retired Col. Cemal Temizöz, the former provincial gendarmerie head; and former Cizre Mayor Kamil Atak.
JİTEM is an intelligence unit of the gendarmerie, never officially recognized by the military. The alleged clandestine organization has been accused of being behind dozens of unsolved murders, predominantly in the 1990s.
"No evidence viable for credible, conscientious opinion"
While the trials were recently resumed in Edirne, families of sufferers attended under support of Kurdish translators, demanding the court to punish the defendants.
The prosecutor, Hakan Ali Erkan, has demanded the acquittal of eight defendants, saying there were no evidence “viable for certain, credible and conscientious opinion”
The defendants were all acquitted by the court, on Nov. 5.
"A dark day for Turkish democracy"
Families and lawyers slammed the decision, while Diyarbakır Bar Vice Chair Ahmet Özmen told they were to discern the decision.
“This is a dark day for the Turkish democracy and Turkey’s efforts to confront its dark history, said Özmen, regarding the “most comprehensive cold case” within the Turkish-Kurdish conflict after 1990s.
“The trials were unfortunately formal and reluctant. The shield of impunity, as a state policy, continues to protect public officials murdering people, committing heavy crimes, and extorting” urged Özmen, pointing to the cold cases covering various provinces across Turkey, from western Kocaeli to eastern Van.
A lawyer in Şırnak Bar, Veysel Vesek added the defendants were sentenced by the victims and Turkish public opinion, in despite of the decision.
There are people who have not been able to find corpses, some still search for bones of their relatives, said Vesek, adding that the decision and the file was “making history.”