06/21/2021, 11.35
TURKEY
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Three arrests in case of missing Christian couple, truth yet to emerge

The police arrested two people, whose identity remains unknown.  The third is Apro Diril, already arrested in the past for an altercation with elderly spouses and released on probation.  Dispute over possession of some agricultural land.  There has been no news of Houmouz Diril for 531 days.

 

 Istanbul (AsiaNews) - Three arrests in a story that remains largely unknown and in which the truth still seems far away.  The fate of the Diril spouses who were kidnapped in south-eastern Turkey in January 2020, remains shrouded in mystery.  According to the Mezopotamya News agency, in recent days the police have carried out some raids in the Beytüşşebap district, in the province of Şırnak, arresting three people suspected of involvement in the kidnapping and death of the woman.  There is no official news of the whereabouts of the man yet.

Local sources say that the investigators have arrested two people, whose identity remains unknown at the moment.  The third arrested is Apro Diril, a distant relative of the two elderly spouses with whom there would have been disagreements in the past.  In the days following his disappearance, he reported seeing some men in the PKK uniform (the Kurdish Workers' Party, considered a terrorist movement by Ankara) taking the two Christians.

The man says he tried to stop the assailants and suffered threats in case of further interventions or if he reported the matter to the police.  After some time, Apro Diril retracted at least in part, stating that he was not sure of the "uniform" worn by the kidnappers, who could belong to groups other than the PKK.  The authorities suspected him because, according to some inhabitants of the area, he had an altercation in the months preceding his disappearance due to disputes over the use of some agricultural land.

On the other hand, the investigators did not leak any details or information on the identity of the other two arrested.  Last March, the son Remzi Diril, a priest of the Chaldean Church in Iraq, denounced the inaction of the police and the judiciary who, after more than a year, had not taken any steps in the direction of truth and justice.  Even a parliamentarian had attacked the institutions whose "anti-Christian" policy he said was at the basis of the kidnapping and death of the spouses.

Houmouz and Şimoni Diril, Chaldeans, lived in the Christian village of Mehri (Kovankaya), an area where a struggle has been going on for some time between the government and Kurdish separatists.  According to an eyewitness, on 11 January last year armed men entered Kovankaya and took the couple away;  adverse weather conditions and the silence imposed by the authorities blocked the searches.

The body of the 65-year-old woman was found on March 20 last year: abandoned on the edge of a stream, naked and with evident signs of torture;  of her 71-year-old husband there has been no news for 531 days.  In a comment relaunched on social media, the president of the Şırnak Lawyers Association, Rojhat Dilsiz, stressed that "there has been no real progress in the investigation ", especially in the case of the "disappearance of Houmouz Diril".  He does not consider the issue of "arrest warrants against three suspects", including "Apro Diril, already arrested and then released on probation", to be a real turning point.

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