Seyit Rıza was hanged 76 years ago
Seyit Rıza

Today marked the 76th anniversary of the execution of Seyit Rıza, one of the leader of the 1937-38 Dersim rebellion.
Seyit Rıza was born in 1863 in Lirtik, a village in Dersim. His father’s name was Seyid Ibrahim from the Hesenan tribe.
He was tried and sentenced after a show trial, on 15 November 1937.

He and his fellows were not informed about the basics of their rights and the details of their case. It was not found necessary to provide a lawyer to them. They were not able to understand the language of the trial (which was Turkish) since they were all Zazas. However no interpreter was provided.

The trial ended after three hearings and in two weeks. The final judgement was given on a Saturday, a day which the courts do not work normally. The cause behind it was Atatürk’s forthcoming visit to the region and the government’s fear for a possible amnesty claim for Rıza during the visit. The head judge of the court resisted to give his final decision on a holiday and alleged the lack of electricity at night time and a hangman. After giving the guarantees on lighting the courtroom with car lights and to make ready a hangman, everything was ready for the final stage.

Eleven men including Seyit Rıza himself, his son Uşene Seyid, Aliye Mırze Sili, Cıvrail Ağa, Hesen Ağa, Fındık Ağa, Resik Hüseyin ve Hesene İvraime Qıji were sentenced to the death. Four of the eleven death sentences were turned into 30 years imprisonment sentence.
Seyit Rıza was almost 78 years old when the sentence was announced. This made it impossible to hang him. Yet the court accepted that he was 54, not 78. And the leader of the Dersim rebellion was hanged.

He was buried in a secret place and its whereabouts is still unknown. The BDP once again, remembering the hanging, asked today for the burial place to be revealed.


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