Nephew of murdered Kurdish lawyer becomes prosecutor in Netherlands
A relative of an activist lawyer who was one of the victims of unsolved murders in Turkey during the 1990s took up the position of prosecutor in Netherlands.
Kurdish attorney Sidar Bengin Epozdemir, the new district prosecutor of the Rotterdam area, said he looked up to his uncle Sevket Epozdemir as his idol.
Uncle Epozdemir was shot and killed in 1993 in Bitlis province of southeastern Turkey, and his murderer was never found, as seen in hundreds of other cases involving murders commited against Kurdish intellectuals and activists during the 1990s.
The 35 year old prosecutor said in an interview with Rudaw that he applied for the prosecutor’s office in 2019, after graduating from Maastricht University in 2010, completing his master's degree at Leiden University in 2011, and working as an independent lawyer for 7 years.
Epozdemir said he saw his profession as “a way of defending the oppressed.”
“The law tradition started in our family with my uncle. He was a lawyer, human rights defender and the President of the Human Rights Association. His life and struggle inspired us,” Epozdemir said.
Sidar Epozdemir stressed the importance of his task saying “Every decision, every choice you make will have consequences for victims, suspects and communities.”
“It is an honor for me to undertake such a task on behalf of the society and to receive the trust of the society and the state,” he said.
A shot behind his head
Kurdish lawyer and politician Sevket Epozdemir’s body was found on the side of a road near a military post outside the city one day after he was abducted from his house on 25 November 1993.
An autopsy on his body found out that he had been shot from behind his head.
His family later said the lawyer had been receiving death threats from a military commander in the city.