MLSA to hold its annual “Unsolved” panel on December 17

Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) will hold the third of its panel series, Unsolved, on December 17, Thursday at 7 PM (GMT+3) which will be moderated by human rights defender and Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Chair Şebnem Korur Fincancı, and held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel will be joined by Lana Estemirova, daughter of Chechen human rights defender and journalist Natalya Estemirova, Şemsiye Bağdu, wife of Azadiya Welat newspaper distributor Kadri Bağdu, Sebla Arcan from Human Rights Association (İHD) on behalf of Saturday Mothers, who have been struggling for justice since 1995 in order to shed light on the disappearances of their relatives, and Emel Ataktürk from Hafıza Merkezi, which endeavors to contribute to Turkey’s coming to terms with its past atrocities through its project titled Perpetrator Not-unknown, with a specific focus on ‘enforced disappearances’ and impunity.

As in the previous years, we will ask ourselves the following questions: As a society, how can we fight impunity in unsolved murders? What is the role of journalists, civil society leaders, writers, academics and activists in demanding justice and standing in solidarity with the families? How can we prevent oblivion for those slain? Most important of all, what can we do to put an end to these assassinations?

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Below are the names of those we will commemorate in this year’s panel:

Kadri Bağdu, Media employee

Azadiya Welat newspaper distributor Kadri Bağdu was assassinated in an armed assault on October 14, 2014 in Adana’s Seyhan district while he was delivering newspapers on his bike. Four years after his murder, an ISIS member confessed the names of the planners and perpetrators of the assassination on video. After giving testimonies, they were released as “informed” people and never prosecuted.

Natalya Estemirova, Human rights defender and journalist

Natalya Estemirova, a board member of International Memorial that aims to promote the development of civil society and democratic state with the rule of law in post-Soviet countries, human rights defender and writer of Novaya Gazeta, was abducted near her home in Chechnya, and murdered by unidentified individuals on July 15, 2009. 11 years after the assassination, Estemirova’s death remains unsolved.

Saturday Mothers/People

Saturday Mothers come together at Galatasaray Square every week since May 27, 1995, in order to demand the whereabouts of their loved ones. Organized to keep the social memory alive and raise awareness against impunity, the Saturday Mothers have faced multiple bans throughout the years. They encountered a brutal attack from the police force on August 25, 2018 which marked their 700th gathering. Since then Galatasaray Square, the historical gathering place of the Saturday Mothers, remains under police blockade.