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Cyprus (northern part)12 September 2002

Wife of murdered journalist threatened

Reporters Without Borders expressed its concern today about pressures being exerted on the widow of murdered journalist Kutlu Adali, apparently from those close to the authorities trying to get her to drop a lawsuit against the government connected with his death.

"Adali’s wife Ilkay is a key witness in the case against the Turkish government which will be heard by the European Court of Human Rights next month," said Robert Ménard, secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders in a letter to the leader of the Turkish-Cypriot community, Rauf Denktash and the Turkish Minister of State for Cypriot affairs, Tayyibe Gülek.

"The threats being made against her suggest that certain people do not want her to give evidence to the court and do not want this serious case to be dug up again. We ask you to ensure her safety and will hold you responsible for whatever happens to her," Ménard said.

Strangers tried to break into Mrs Adali’s house on 6 September and she later found her dog lying dead outside. She says her phone is tapped and is regularly cut off. She believes this is to get her to drop the family’s complaint against Turkey before the European Court for failing to properly investigate her husband’s death. The case will be heard in Strasbourg on 8 October and she will testify.

Adali, a columnist on the Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen, was murdered in front of his home on 6 July 1996, soon after he had published a story saying that a former senior officer of the Turkish army in Cyprus had been involved in an attack on a monastery and reporting the misuse of civilian vehicles belong to the defence ministry. Nobody has dared to give evidence about the murder, which remains unsolved.

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