8-months-pregnant woman claims she was severely beaten by police in Şırnak

Eight months pregnant Hatice Baykara, 28, has claimed she was severely beaten by police officers during a raid on her home on Friday in Turkey’s Şırnak province, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

The reason for the raid is unknown.

Baykara said 20 policemen came to her home in the early hours of Friday and broke the door down. She said the police pinned her to the ground and told her to remain silent, and when she attempted to get up hit her on the back.

Baykara said her children started to panic so she asked the police to stop. However, the police started beating her. “The police held me pinned to the ground until they had searched the whole house,” she said. “They had a gun pointed at my head the whole time.”

Baykara said she started experiencing pain after the police left and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. She was given a medical report documenting her injuries and said she filed a complaint against the police officers.

“I was home alone with the children,” she said. “I was terrified and could have lost my baby.”

There have been many reports of police brutality and mistreatment during house raids and subsequent detention in police or gendarmerie custody in southeastern Turkey.

In December Meryem Aşkara, a member of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), claimed she was beaten and threatened by special forces police who raided her house in Şırnak.

Police officers used their dogs to terrify two Kurdish boys during a raid on their home in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır in October 2020.

In a similar incident, Şeyhmus and Menice Yılmaz accused Diyarbakır police officers of letting their dogs attack them during a raid on their home on May 31, 2020 as part of an operation to find the suspected killer of police officer Atakan Aslan.

Following the incident, Şeyhmus Yılmaz went to Selahaddin Eyyubi State Hospital and got a medical report showing dog bites on various parts of his body. He later filed an official complaint alleging police brutality.

According to a report by the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, on his mission to Turkey from November 27 to December 2, 2016, “torture and other forms of ill-treatment were widespread” in Turkey. “[T]here seemed to be a serious disconnect between declared government policy and its implementation in practice,” the special rapporteur noted.

The report found there were numerous consistent allegations received by the special rapporteur in the immediate aftermath of a failed coup on July 15, 2016 and that torture and other forms of ill-treatment were widespread.

The special rapporteur heard persistent reports of severe beatings, punches and kicking, blows with objects, falaqa, threats and verbal abuse, being forced to strip naked, rape with objects and other sexual violence or threats thereof, sleep deprivation, stress positions and extended blindfolding and/or handcuffing for several days, according to the report.

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