As the Movement for Unconditional Justice, this week we worked on Secret Witness which is used as evidence in bad faith proceedings contrary to Turkish law.
- Secret witness evidence began to be implemented in Turkey in 2005. Its implementation is governed by strict conditions. In order to use this evidence, (1) criminal activity must be organized crime, and (2) the face-to-face hearing of the witness shall constitute a serious danger to the witness.
- Furthermore, the confidential statements of witnesses cannot serve as the basis for the verdict alone. In other words, if there is no other evidence on the incident subject to the case and there is only secret witness evidence, this is not enough to give a conviction.
- Secret witness evidence is used in more political cases in Turkey. For instance, Contemporary Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), Gulen Movement, KCK, or DHKP-C cases.
- However, many illegalities arise with regard to the application and obtaining of such evidence.
- For instance: four thousand police officers were charged with affiliation with the Gülen movement with the testimony of a secret witness and were dismissed from the police. According to the data, more than 2,000 police officers are in prison as a result of that anonymous witness. It is against the normal course of life that this anonymous witness comes to know all the defendants. It turns out that this anonymous witness, whose information was later revealed, had to sign the statements given to him/her following torture. As we can see, in this case, there is a violation of the law, both in terms of obtaining confidential evidence and using it as justification for detention or conviction.
- Such cases are highly likely to be brought before the European Court of Human Rights because of the violation of the principle of a fair trial.
- Contemporary Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), American Priest Brunson, the detained former leader of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and many other cases there have been convictions based solely on that evidence.
As the Unconditional Justice Movement, we will always be on the side of justice. We are saying that a decision should not be made solely through anonymous testimony.