Kurdové a Kurdistán



Starší dějiny


 10. 2. 2006 Petr Kubálek
 Případ Uzunoğlu v parlamentní televizi tento víkend
Ke kauze kurdského podnikatele Yekty Geylanî, který je znám pod svým oficiálním tureckým jménem Uzunoğlu, se tento týden vrátila česká parlamentní televize 24cz. Reprízu rozhovoru s Yektou Geylanîm-Uzunoğlu je možné sledovat v sobotu 11.února a v neděli 12.února, vždy v 17:30 hodin.

Televize 24cz vysílá v kabelových sítích UPC a Karneval a přes satelitní družici SES-ASTRA . Na svých internetových stránkách inzeruje také vysílání online, avšak tam uživatel může narazit na technické problémy.

Další líčení v kauze Uzunoğlu naplánoval Obvodní soud pro Prahu 4 na 16.únor.

O případu zatím snad nejpodrobněji informoval Jaroslav Spurný v týdeníku Respekt. Níže je k dispozici anglický překlad jeho článku.

Three Murders Are Enough, Uzunoglu*
Kurdish Doctor’s Drama Nears an End

(* The headline paraphrases the name of a popular Czech criminal comedy ("Four Murders Are Enough, Darling"). Yekta Uzunoglu’s original but unofficial Kurdish name, which he often prefers to use, is Yekta Geylani. (TRANSLATORS’ NOTE)

Jaroslav Spurny
The Czech weekly “Respekt”, No. 2 (9-15 January 2006)

When Yekta Uzunoglu (52) stands up in court in Prague and energetically waves a sheaf of documents, he brings to mind Perry Mason, the famous fictional advocate. And Uzunoglu’s case is itself akin to a grand detective story: on one side are accusations of fraud, kidnapping, torture, and of the planning of a triple murder and, on the other, the serious possibility that an innocent man is being accused and destroyed by corrupt police members acting on behalf of a group of businessmen. The only difference in the comparison with the uncombative Perry is that the gray-haired Kurdish doctor is not being defended here by some lawyer, but by himself. And now this drama, which has dragged on for years, is approaching its conclusion.

The Smart Detective

“My case has now been drawn out for 11 years and dozens of pieces of evidence prove that the investigation was manipulated from the outset. Who is behind that? Who thought it was making that kind of effort on my account in a country with the rule of law?” These are the rhetorical questions that Yekta Uzunoglu poses judges. Seated in an overheated courtroom the size of a room in a small apartment are the jury, the prosecutor and the defendant, and some twenty spectators. Senator Jaromir Stetina, former dissidents Dana Nemcova and John Bok, and a number of journalists carefully note what is said. It is a matter of professional honor to attend the conclusion of a case that started when the media transformed a Kurdish doctor long settled in the Czech Republic into a dangerous gangster on the basis of a police report fed to them.

“His activities bear all the indications of a member of organized crime. Uzunoglu has been trafficking arms and drugs,” Czech newspapers reported in September 1994 after the Kurdish doctor and entrepreneur was arrested. That report was taken from the Czech News Agency (CTK), to whom it had been sent by Jiri Gregor, a detective in the police's organized-crime unit and the man who was involved from the moment that Uzunoglu was prosecuted.

But a month later everything looked different: the police announced that Uzunoglu had not been trafficking drugs and arms but had been involved in murder, blackmail, kidnapping, and the asset-stripping of Czech firms. A few months after that, even those serious allegations began to crumble. (For details, see below the Appendix: “A Meeting In A Basement”.) Despite that – and despite complaints filed by Uzunoglu with a range of institutions, including the Interior Ministry's internal-affairs inspectorate, three appeal courts, and the Czech parliament – Uzunoglu was not released from custody until March 1997. By then, he stood accused "only" of illegally seizing and torturing one person, a Turkish expatriate, Gurkan Gonen. That name had an important role to play in the case.

After his release, Uzunoglu immediately sued Gregor for libel, for the false report that he had provided to CTK. But neither Supreme Prosecutors Office, to which Uzunoglu turned, and the police inspectorate, which was supposed to investigate his complaint, can today remember what they did in the matter – or, at least, that is what their spokespeople say. Gregor has never been investigated and prosecuted for libel, and Uzunoglu has never received a reply. A destructive move involving the feeding of false information to the media was swept under the carpet.

Jiri Gregor was not just the man behind the CTK report; it was also he who was behind the initial charges leveled at Uzunoglu. The initial charge – the only one that has not so far been withdrawn – was based on the testimony of Gonen, a small trader and also an underworld informer in the employ of one of Gregor's superiors, Jan Horak. These aspects of the Uzunoglu case are strongly reminiscent of another case, the well-known "elimination" of Roman Hrubant, an officer in the domestic intelligence service (BIS) and a man who in the early 1990s revealed the political misuse of the service by members of the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD). After the party came to power [in 1998], criminal charges were brought against Hrubant. Three years later – although Hrubant walked away the court with an entirely clean slate – his career with the police was finished. The investigation into Hrubant’s case was, in its initial stages, led by Gregor and the crucial testimony alleging fraud was provided by the underworld informer [Gurkan Gonen].

Gonen is today the chief witness in the case against Dr Uzunoglu. But the latest court hearings were the third consecutive time that Gonen has failed to appear in court to provide testimony. Last week, Judge Rasik ordered police to find him and bring him to the courtroom, but without success.

Who Holds The Key

In whose interest could it be to have Uzunoglu jailed? The Kurdish doctor himself offers one possible explanation. In 1994, Uzunoglu seemed to have a struck lucky in business since the Czech company Skoda appointed him its representative in a battle for the Soma thermal power plant near Ankara, Turkey. The contract was worth 9 billion Czech crowns ($360 million). Had Uzunoglu managed to win it for Skoda, he would have earned 900 million Czech crowns ($36 million) as a commission. His competitor to represent Skoda in the bid was the Czech company Skodaexport. The head of its Ankara office, Jaromir Johanes, had been the last communist-era Czechoslovak foreign minister and later served as Czechoslovakia’s ambassador in Turkey. His personal Turkish interpreter was a close friend of alleged Uzunoglu’s torture victim, Gurkan Gonen.

It was Uzunoglu who won the right to represent Skoda in the bid, but, less than a month after the contract was signed, he was arrested on charges of kidnapping and planning a murder. The contract was annulled and the agency rights were transferred to Skodaexport.

It is hard to say to what extent that speculation [put forward by Uzunoglu] is true. When asked by the weekly Respekt in the late 1990s, both Johanes and Gonen vehemently dismissed the notion that they could have had any interest at all in “eliminating” this awkward entrepreneur. It is of course remarkable that the version of events outlined by Uzunoglu has been examined neither by the police, nor by the public prosecutor, nor by the courts. In fact, yes, one of the investigators did call Johanes in Ankara – to ask whether he had anything to do with the Uzunoglu case. The answer is obvious. It is close to impossible to discover why nothing more has been done [to explore Uzunoglu's supposition]: over the years, the case has passed through the hands of dozens of policemen, inspectors, public prosecutors, and judges. The overwhelming majority of them were – to put it simply – dealing only with minor issues unrelated to the heart of the case. For instance, it took three years for the courts to decide under whose jurisdiction the case fell under. No one ever addressed the key elements of Uzunoglu’s complaints.

A revealing incident was the issue of the keys to Uzunoglu’s apartment. For ten months after conducting a house search, the police refused to return the keys to him. While in custody, Uzunoglu needed his lawyers to bring his personal effects from the apartment. During the time that the keys were in the hands of the police, someone ran up a 200,000 Czech crown ($8,000) bill on Uzunoglu’s telephone. The Interior Ministry's internal-affairs inspectors proved unable to prove that police officers were responsible.

And there is an exclamation mark in the case – a fire that destroyed Uzunoglu’s newly built detached house in 1998. Many documents related to the case ended up in the ashes. The arsonist was never captured.

The next court session in the Uzunoglu case is scheduled for mid-February.


A Meeting In A Basement

On 12 September 1994, Prague police's crime department received an anonymous phone call that there was a man tied up in an apartment in Prague 9 [a district in the city]. Detective Jan Horak was sent to the spot and found that the victim was Gurkan Gonen, his long-time informer from the criminal underworld. Gonen testified he had been bound, tortured, and threatened with death by Uzunoglu and three of the doctor's fellow countrymen. He was not alone. The police soon received testimonies from two other Kurds who also claimed to have been tortured. Uzunoglu was taken into custody. The alibi that he provided about his activities at the time at which he was supposed to be torturing the three men was corroborated by, among others, his girlfriend, Dana Kristanova. But soon after, she told the police that one of the witnesses in the case (with whom she had been put in contact by one of Gregor's superiors) had told her about Uzunoglu had been planning to kill her and her father – and so Uzunoglu found that another set of charges was put on his shoulders, this time for planning murder. Then the file was expanded to include allegations of fraud. The police had discovered that the Kurdish doctor was involved in court cases worth 30 million Czech crowns (over $1.2 million) with four Czech companies, which the police interpreted as asset-stripping. It was three years before the situation took a turn. First, two of the alleged torture victims (Gonen stands by his version) withdrew their testimonies. Then, the charge that Uzunoglu had been plotting a double murder was found absurd enough to be overturned. And the alleged fraud turned out to be mere commercial disputes, in which the commercial court eventually found in Uzunoglu's favor. Uzunoglu's case file now has over 5,000 pages.

(Translated from Czech by Andrew Gardner and Petr Kubalek.)

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