Interpol helped Harvard educated professor get tortured in Turkish prison

In yet another sign of the abuse of the Interpol system by Turkish government, Harvard-educated Turkish professor was extradited to Turkey to endure torture and ill-treatment in notorious Turkish prison despite he was under the United Nations (UN) protection in Bahrain.

Murat Acar, 46-year-old medical doctor who was working as a professor and consultant at King Hamad University’s Radiology Department in Bahrain, was whisked away to Turkey on trumped up coup plotting charges filed by Turkish government. Acar who suspected the government may target him sought the UN help and was granted humanitarian protection. However, Bahrain police disregarded his status, raided his house to detain him. He was turned over to Turkey by the Interpol section of Bahrain police.

Bahrain Interpol has become an accomplice of Turkey to the unlawful arrest without presenting any concrete evidence. Acar was subjected to torture and ill treatment for 18 days after his extradition to Turkey. When he finally appeared for the arraignment hearing, he was formally arrested on October 26, 2016 by Ankara 7th Penal Court of Peace Judge Kenan Türk.

In his testimony, doctor Acar stated that he had no affiliation with any organization and that he had been abroad long before the coup. “I went abroad on assignment. I had an official job there. Later, Turkish Embassy in Manama notified me that my Turkish passport was declared null and void. I consulted an attorney,” he added. “The attorney told me that we could face tough times if I went to Turkey. He said that we would be able to request humanitarian protection from the UN in order to elude extradition,” he said.

“I took the attorney’s advice. However I was extradited, although I was granted protection,” Acar complained.

Acar suffers from hypertension and underwent surgery for thyroid cancer. He has been held in prison for about 1 year without a trial and conviction. As the investigation file against him is deemed “confidential” by the government, he has not been able to access the investigation documents and he does not know what he is accused of and what the evidence are.

All his motions to get released were rejected on the grounds that he is suspect on high crime.

Acar and his lawyer applied to the Constitutional Court with a 26-page petition to complain about human rights infringement and arbitrary detention. In his urgent review motion, he complained about unlawful practices during his arrest and detention periods. He noted that he had been tortured and subjected to ill-treatment during his 18-day detention.

The petition alleged that Turkish government has violated its commitments under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), especially by breaching Article 5 on deprivation of liberty, Article 6 on the right to a fair trial, Article 7 on no punishment without law, Article 3 that bans torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. He is also demanding TL 1 million compensation for pecuniary and TL 2 million for non-pecuniary damages he faced.

Turkish government has asked for arrest warrants through Interpol for a large number of Turkish dissidents abroad. The last example of this was a German human rights advocate and writer Doğan Akhanlı, who was detained in Spain’s holiday district of Granada.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has accused Turkey of abusing Interpol, international police organization, for its ill-minded purposes. With German authorities’ intervention red bulletin issued by Turkey was canceled and Doğan Akhanlı was released.

Swedish-Turkish writer Hamza Yalçın was also recently taken under custody in Barcelona over another Interpol red notice requested by Turkey. Swedish government protested the arrest and asked for his release.

Malaysian and Saudi Arabian police authorities have extradited alleged members of the Gülen movement to Turkey with no concrete evidence but just on the grounds that they are affiliated with the movement.

Later, it was revealed that the people handed over to Turkey were subjected to torture and ill-treatment during lengthy custody periods.

Acar graduated from İstanbul University Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine in 1996. He completed his overseas studies in 2001. Between 2007 and 2008 he worked as a research assistant at Harvard University Brigham & Gynecology Hospital Abdominal Ventilation Radiology Department. Recently, he was working as a professor and consultant at King Hamad University’s Radiology Department in Bahrain. Of particular interests are Abdominal Imaging and Non-vascular Intervention.


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