Ferhat Gercek

In Turkey in October 2007, just days before his 18th birthday, Ferhat Gercek was shot by police. As a result of his injuries he is now paralysed from the waist down. Medical reports have confirmed that the disability is permanent.

Ferhat had been with a group selling a left-wing magazine when he was stopped by police. A dispute ensued and the police opened fire and shot Ferhat in the back.

Amnesty International has long been concerned about a culture of impunity in Turkey. People whose human rights have been violated by the police or army stood little chance of achieving justice. However, there has been some progress towards combating this culture of impunity, and seven police officers were put on trial for the shooting. But serious flaws in the investigation into the shooting reduce the likelihood of justice. Five years on, not a lot of progress has been made in the trial.

Our campaign is based on the traditional Amnesty tactic of writing letters to people in authority, expressing our concern at the shooting, at the flawed investigation, and at the slow pace of the trial. We also write messages of support to Ferhat. Ferhat's birthday is on the 15th October, and we shall be celebrating (at our meeting (on 27th September) with a birthday cake and signing a birthday card which we shall post to him.

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