Baku Ceyhan human rights activist arrested

28 May 2004

Activist Ferhat Kaya was arrested by the Turkish authorities in early May following his work to protect the rights of Turkish citizens affected by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. Allegations quickly surfaced that he had been tortured. Campaigners outside Turkey who had worked with Kaya rapidly mobilized to send letters of support. As the project is funded by international financial institutions they urge people to write to officials at export credit agencies, the World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as well as to the private banks backing the scheme.

He was humiliated and very badly beaten up during his detention. An officer pointed a gun at his head and verbally abused him. Witnesses and relatives observed blood on his clothes and deep cuts on his arms and elsewhere. A medical report is consistent with allegations of torture or ill-treatment.

Kaya has been involved for some time in mitigating the impacts of the BTC project by ensuring that local people obtain the compensation to which they are entitled and that their rights are respected. He has this year assisted people affected by the pipeline in bringing complaints to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Court of Justice.

Witnesses, human rights and environmental groups believe this is Kaya’s second detention in connection with his work to highlight concerns over the pipeline. At the time of his arrest he had just been promised a meeting by BOTAS, the Turkish parastatal company building the pipeline under contract to BP, a meeting he was then unable to attend.

After many protest letters were written, Kaya was released on payment of a large bail. Supporters are still demanding an investigation into the circumstances of his detention and alleged torture and a guarantee that his human rights are respected.

In the UK write to Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for International Development: PrivateSecretary@dfid.gov.uk

To contribute to recoup the bail payment or join a list for solidarity actions

mail to:baku@gn.apc.org