80 university students detained over Gülen links subjected to torture: report

Eighty university students who were detained in police operations on the morning of Feb. 28 due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement have been interrogated for days at the Ankara Police Department and subjected to torture.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

Lawyers and family members of the students told Bold Medya that the detained students have been kept in police custody at the Ankara Police Department for days, where they are subjected to humiliation and torture.

The police officers interrogating the students, who were still minors when the coup attempt took place, reportedly told them, “If only a war had broken out on July 15 and we had killed all of you.”

The students in detention are both male and female. Contrary to legal procedure, the students have been interrogated three times in a day, and their interrogation sometimes lasts until the early hours of the morning. The female students who are handcuffed from behind have been punched by male police officers on their backs, shoulders and bellies, according to Bold Medya, which based its report on the records of the Ankara Bar Association.

The male students have been forced to undress, have had plastic bags put over their heads, punched in the head and beaten.

All these acts of torture are perpetrated by police officers who don’t reveal their identity and in rooms lacking security cameras, according to Bold Medya.

The students are reportedly being asked questions about the new organization efforts of the Gülen movement.

Some of the students’ parents have been removed from their jobs or jailed due to alleged Gülen links.

Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight as a result of which more than 130,000 people were removed from state jobs while in excess of 30,000 others are still in jail and some 600,000 people have been investigated on allegations of terrorism.

In the aftermath of the coup attempt, there have been widespread claims about acts of torture in Turkey’s prisons and detention centers that have so far gone uninvestigated. (turkishminute.com)

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