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AI REPORT 1997: CYPRUS

A Greek Cypriot civilian was beaten to death while a Turkish Cypriot police officer failed to intervene. Two unarmed Greek Cypriot civilians were shot dead by Turkish Cypriot soldiers. A journalist was shot dead in an alleged politically motivated killing in the Turkish Cypriot-administered part of the island. Jehovah's Witnesses continued to be imprisoned for refusing on grounds of conscience to perform military service.

    In August, Tasos Isaak, a Greek Cypriot, was beaten to death in the un buffer zone by Turkish Cypriots or alleged members of the Turkish organization Grey Wolves. Video footage showed a Turkish Cypriot police officer watching Tasos Isaac being beaten without intervening. Violence erupted when Greek Cypriots protesting against the division of Cyprus tried to force their way through the buffer zone. Tasos Isaak was beaten unconscious with clubs and stones after becoming trapped in barbed-wire barricades. He died soon afterwards from severe head injuries.

    On 14 August, during a demonstration following Tasos Isaak's funeral, Solomos Solomou, also a Greek Cypriot, was shot dead by Turkish Cypriot soldiers as he tried to pull down a flag on the Turkish Cypriot side of the buffer zone.

    In October, Petros Kakoulis, a Greek Cypriot, was shot dead by Turkish Cypriot soldiers when he wandered into the buffer zone. According to his son-in-law, who was with him, six Turkish Cypriot soldiers approached Petros Kakoulis who immediately raised his arms in a gesture of surrender. The soldiers fired at him, reportedly shooting again at close range after he had fallen to the ground. An autopsy carried out by Turkish Cypriot doctors reportedly found that Petros Kakoulis died of a single gunshot wound. However, a second post-mortem examination carried out after his body was returned to his relatives found two other gunshot wounds.

    In July, Kutlu Adal., a journalist living in the Turkish Cypriot-administered part of the island, was shot dead outside his home. He had reportedly received death threats after criticizing the presence in Cyprus of Turkish troops and the policy of encouraging citizens of Turkey to live in Cyprus. Reports suggested that the Turkish Revenge Brigade was responsible for the killing.

    The alternative "unarmed military service" provided for conscientious objectors remained punitive in length (42 or 36 months as against 26 months of ordinary military service) and is suspended during periods of emergency or general mobilization. At least 18 members of the Jehovah's Witnesses religious group were imprisoned during the year for refusing to perform military service. Those called up for the first time received 26-month sentences, while reservists received sentences of seven or eight months' imprisonment. All were prisoners of conscience.

    In August, Amnesty International called on the un to establish an effective commission of inquiry to investigate "disappearances", "missing" persons and deliberate and arbitrary killings in Cyprus arising out of the events of 1963 to 1964 and 1974. The organization called on President Glafkos Clerides and Rauf DenktaÒ, the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, to support the establishment of such a commission.

    Also in August, Amnesty International asked Rauf DenktaÒ what steps had been taken to investigate the killing of Kutlu Adal. and urged that prompt, thorough and impartial investigations be carried out into the killings of Tasos Isaak and Solomos Solomou. The organization called on President Clerides, Rauf DenktaÒ and the un peace-keeping forces to take all appropriate measures to ensure that no such incidents happened in future. Rauf DenktaÒ responded that the events which led to the death of Tasos Isaak were provoked when "Greek Cypriots tried to force their way through the un buffer-zone at various points" in "direct threat to the rights and security of Turkish Cypriots". In November, Rauf DenktaÒ responded that an investigation into the death of Kutlu Adal. continued but that no charges had been brought in connection with the killing. Also in November, the authorities responded to Amnesty International's call for an investigation into the killing of Petros Kakoulis, stating that the matter was being dealt with by an internal inquiry.

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