Delegation from bar associations confirms torture by Turkish soldiers in Şemdinli

A delegation from the Diyarbakır, Van and Hakkari bar associations has confirmed as a result of interviews that villagers from Korgan village in the Şemdinli district of Hakkari province were subjected to ill-treatment and torture by Turkish soldiers on May 31.

According to a report released by the delegation after their visit, the villagers were repeatedly put head-first in water, were threatened and insulted and held at gunpoint. The villagers were left to die after they were tortured by the soldiers.

According to a report by the pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF), the delegation of bar associations met with the four torture victims, all of them shepherds and one of whom was seriously injured. However, a request by the delegation for a meeting with the Şemdinli chief public prosecutor was rejected.

The report stated that the torture and ill-treatment took place in a pasture where residents of Korgan village graze their livestock, an area where there are no military restrictions. The torture was allegedly committed by five officers, one of them high ranking, who came from the military base in the area.

Saying that the number of victims exposed to torture and ill-treatment was four, not two as previously reported, the ANF story went on to say:

“The victims, Nasır Taş, Ramazan Aktaş, İsmail Erebi and Muhsin Çavişi, have suffered injuries to their heads as a result of battery with rifle butts. Nasır Taş suffered torture and his head was repeatedly put into water. The victims were further threatened and insulted.

“It was stated that Nasır Taş was severely wounded and that he was taken to the hospital by the relatives of other victims. The soldiers told the relatives of Taş, ‘We killed a terrorist, go and get him.’

“The whole process of taking statements and complaints was done by a law enforcement officer without the presence of a sworn translator, without lawyers. The officers that perpetrated the torture and ill-treatment were identified by the victims. The documents found in the investigation file were not submitted despite the request of the lawyers.

“In the last year cases of such torture and ill-treatment in the region, especially in Şemdinli, have increased. This was an aggravated crime of torture due to the fact that the acts committed were life-threatening as defined in Article 95 of the Turkish Penal Code [TCK].”

In the report’s conclusions and proposals, attention was drawn to the fact that no statements of witnesses were taken during an investigation carried out by the gendarmerie and that the investigation was not conducted properly.

“For an effective and impartial investigation, given that those allegedly responsible for the torture are soldiers, the case should be transferred from the gendarmerie to the Security Directorate,” the delegation said.

The report said that “psychological support for the victims and their relatives should be provided to deal with the trauma they have suffered due to torture and ill-treatment, and the necessary health care should be provided.

“A proper investigation about the incident should be carried out and observers should sent to the region from the parliamentary Human Rights Commission, Turkey’s Human Rights and Equality Authority, the Ministry of Justice Human Rights Department and the provincial and district human rights violations boards.

“We have seen that recently these and similar incidents are recurrent and result in heavy human rights violations. In addition to the necessary judicial and administrative inquiries we call on the government to show a clear will to prevent similar incidents that cause polarisation and division.”

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