Saturday Mothers ask about the fate of Hüseyin Toraman

Huseyin Toraman was 24 years old when he was dragged into a car by police in Istanbul on October 27, 1991. Since then, the high school teacher has been considered missing.

The Saturday Mothers initiative has called on the Turkish government to clarify the fate of Huseyin Toraman as part of its 866th vigil against enforced disappearances. The high school teacher was 24 years old when he was arrested outside his Istanbul apartment on October 27, 1991. Although several people from the neighborhood could testify that Toraman had been dragged by plainclothes officers into a white Toros - the notorious Renault station wagons used by Turkish security forces to kidnap, torture, kill and not infrequently "disappear" numerous opposition figures, especially in Kurdistan - the arrest was adamantly denied. It is assumed that he was tortured to death.

Huseyin Toraman belonged to the political left. He was already wanted when, in his absence, several police officers stormed his apartment in Gebze,Kocaeli and mistakenly opened fire on colleagues who were secretly occupying it. The victims: one dead and one injured were attributed to leftist violence. The word "revenge" was left on a wall in the apartment. This was first felt by his father, Ali Riza Toraman, who was abused and severely tortured by the police before Huseyin's capture. At that time, his son had already left for Istanbul.

The police in Istanbul, who were notified immediately after the abduction of Huseyin Toraman, were able to track down and stop the white Toros. When their colleagues from the "political police" at the wheel of the car revealed themselves, they were allowed to continue driving. Ali Riza Toraman called the constable of the local police in the Çınar district and wanted to know why his son had not been freed. "It was not a kidnapping, but an arrest. Thus, there was no reason for intervention," the precinct commander let slip. Ali Rıza Toraman made a recording of the conversation, and the recording ended up as evidence in the prosecution's investigation file. Nevertheless, in his answer to a parliamentary question on the whereabouts of Huseyin Toraman, the then Minister of the Interior Ismet Sezgin claimed that he had "certainly not" been arrested.

Buried under a bridge

Huseyin Toraman's younger brother Kemal was living in Germany at the time. He knew that Hüseyin, an asthmatic, would not survive the torture and tried with all his might to save him. But an urgent action by the human rights organization Amnesty International and appeals to German politicians were also in vain. Meanwhile, the Istanbul prosecutor's office received an anonymous letter - signed by a "security official who does not deviate from the truth." The author wrote of "untenable conditions beyond law and humanity" at Gebze police headquarters and mentioned that Huseyin Toraman had been killed in one of the torture chambers. On the instructions of the police chief, the teacher's body was reportedly buried under a bridge by officer Remzi Akıncılar. The approximate coordinates of the place where Huseyin Toraman was apparently buried were attached. However, his remains could not be found during excavations. Those responsible for his arrest and presumed death have also not been identified - and never will be. Under Turkish law, the statute of limitations for acts punishable by life imprisonment is thirty years. As of today's date, the prosecution of Huseyin Toraman's disappearance is time-barred.