I was tortured at Turkish border post, migrant worker claims

Khales Arsan, a migrant laborer from Afghanistan who had crossed into Turkey from the Iranian city of Maku and who had not been heard from for the last five days, was held incommunicado and tortured at a Turkish border post, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

Arsan, a laborer carrying goods at the Turkish-Iranian border, claimed he was tortured at the border post for three days.

Arsan crossed the Turkish border on the night of July 18 with four friends through a village in the Çaldıran district of Van, a Turkish province located on the Iranian border. He had not been heard from since. It turned out that Arsan was detained at the border post.

Arsan told Mezopotamya he had been tortured at the border post where he was detained. Claiming that soldiers opened fire on them while they were trying to cross the border, Arsan added, “My four friends ran away, but because I was tired and unable to escape, I got caught.”

According to Arsan, there were 19 migrants at the border post. “I told them I was from Afghanistan. A commander with six soldiers beat us with sticks, hammers and iron bars at the border post. They would beat us one by one. The beatings were so harsh that the floor was covered with blood. They would take a break and then pick another one of us to beat. They tortured us for three days like this. Many had their arms, legs or heads broken.”

Saying that he and the other 19 migrants were taken to the Iranian side of the border and left there without any legal action having been taken, he added: “Once we crossed the Iranian border we were fired on by Iranian soldiers. We escaped by running away.”

Arsan said he had to work at the border to earn a living. “Otherwise, we would have starved. There are no job opportunities in Iran. I thought I would be killed when I got caught. God spared me for my children. In just the border village alone where I worked, eight young men have been shot by Turkish or Iranian soldiers in the last two years.”

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