Orhan İnandı, a Turkish-Kyrgyz educator rendered to Turkey from Kyrgyzstan by Turkish intelligence, said at his first court hearing on Tuesday that he was tortured while in custody.
According to the Bold Medya news website, İnandı said he was subjected to torture for 37 days and broke into tears as he recalled the details for an hour and a half. At the beginning of his testimony, the judges wanted to prevent him from talking about those days, but İnandı insisted.
He is still unable to use his right arm, which was broken in custody six months ago. Photographs of İnandı supporting a broken arm in Turkey’s notorious Silivri Prison had emerged earlier in November.
Out of 12 people who had testified against İnandı, six appeared in court and said their allegations were based on “rumors” they had heard here and there.
The second hearing in his trial will be held on February 3, 2022.
İnandı, who was the founder and director of the prestigious Sapat school network operating in Kyrgyzstan, went missing on May 31 and was feared to have been abducted by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen. He is the latest victim in a series of cases in which Turkey’s intelligence agency has been involved in unlawfully transferring people to Turkey from countries around the world.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had acknowledged in a statement on July 5 that İnandı was actually abducted by MİT, lauding the Turkish spies’ efforts in the rendition.
Photos of İnandı in handcuffs with Turkish flags prompted allegations of torture due to İnandı’s visible weight loss and swollen right hand.
An Ankara court on July 12 ruled to arrest İnandı on charges of serving as an executive of a terrorist organization.
In his first public comments on İnandı’s disappearance on May 31, lawyer Halil İbrahim Yılmaz had said his client told him that three men who spoke fluent Kyrgyz and were possibly officers of the Kyrgyz police, security services or another Kyrgyz state entity kidnapped him.
President Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.
Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.
Human Rights Watch earlier said in a statement that the abduction, forcible disappearance and extrajudicial transfer of İnandı to Turkey by Turkish and Kyrgyz authorities amounted to egregious violations of international and domestic law.
Since the coup attempt in July 2016 the Erdoğan government has employed extralegal methods to secure the return of its critics after its official extradition requests have been denied. The government’s campaign has mostly relied on renditions, in which the government and its intelligence agency MİT persuade the relevant states to hand over individuals without due process, using various methods. The victims have faced a number of human rights violations including arbitrary arrests, house raids, torture and ill-treatment during these operations. A detailed account of Erdoğan government’s transnational repression can be found in SCF’s latest report, “Turkey’s Transnational Repression: Abduction, Rendition and Forcible Return of Erdoğan Critics.”
In several of these cases the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) concluded that the arrest, detention and forced transfer to Turkey of Turkish nationals were arbitrary and in violation of international human rights norms and standards.