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Ex-Prison Boss Assassinated in Turkey

Mehmet Topac was a former minister of justice from 1988-89 in Turkey as a member of the right wing Motherland Party. While he held that position, which controls the Turkish prison system, he instituted rules requiring leftist political prisoners to wear uniforms and limiting visits from attorneys and relatives. Hundreds of leftist political prisoners went on hunger strikes to protest the rules and two died before the rules were revoked.

On September 29, 1994, four guerrillas of Devrimci Sol, an armed communist party which means Revolutionary Left in English, shot Topac twice in the head in his Ankara law office. Topac died at the scene. Devrimci Sol left leaflets at the scene claiming responsibility for the attack. Since initiating its armed struggle for seizing state power in 1978, Devrimci Sol has assassinated dozens of military and political officials in Turkey as part of its guerrilla campaign. Hundreds of its members languish under harsh conditions in Turkish prisons as political prisoners.

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