Lawyer Mızrak: 250 graves were destroyed in Lice alone

The lawyers’ association ÖHD has published a report on the destruction of graves by security forces in the Lice region. According to the report, 250 graves in a cemetery in the Northern Kurdish district of Lice alone were destroyed by security forces.

The Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) has written a report about the Turkish state’s attacks on the cemetery of Sîsê (Yolçatı) near the district of Lice in Amed (Diyarbakır) province. Lawyer Bawer Mızrak talked to Mezopotamya news agency about a significant increase of attacks on the cemeteries of martyrs in the last months. He describes the attacks on the graves of guerrilla fighters as "execution of enemy law against the Kurds" and emphasizes that such attacks have particularly increased after the end of the peace dialogue in 2015. He reports grave desecrations by security forces in Lice, Silvan, Erçiş, Yüksekova, Bingöl, Malazgirt and Hasankeyf, but also says that most likely many more cemeteries became targets of attacks.

Lawyer Bawer Mızrak

Hundreds of gravestones destroyed

Mızrak talks about the ÖHD's investigations at the Sîsê cemetery and says: "With the end of the peace process, attacks usually took place here once or twice a year. Families tell us that soldiers returning from a military operation have repeatedly destroyeded one or two graves. But in our last investigation we found out that the stones of all 250 graves have been destroyed.

Relatives threatened and investigated over “terrorist propaganda”

From Silvan, Mızrak tells of relatives who were summoned to the police headquarters, threatened and insulted. They were ordered to destruct the graves of their relatives, otherwise they would be arrested. Mızrak says: "Finally, a case was filed against all owners of the graves for terror propaganda. Citing the “regulations for graves”, the authorities say gravestones of Kurdish martyrs contradict them. However, no such regulation exists."

International community must take action

The ÖHD calls on the EU, the Council of Europe and the United Nations to take action against these attacks on the memory of the dead and promises to support the families in legal actions up to the last instance.