Three suspects who were severely tortured in the police station for their alleged involvement in mortar attack against police building in the town of Gevaş of Turkey’s eastern province Van turned out to be innocent villagers.
The incident took place on the night of June 9 when the police building came under mortar fire in Gevaş, prompting security services to scramble to find the perpetrators. Van Governor’s Office later announced that security services caught three suspects alive, identified as Cemal Aslan (53), Halil Aslan (50) and Abdülselam Aslan (35) in connection with the attack that resulted in no casualties. The statement also said the perpetrators admitted to their crimes.
The pictures that were published in the pro-government media showed that the detainees went through severe beatings and torture while under police custody. Fatih Tezcan, a government propagandist even cynically wrote that the picture showed the attackers banged their heads to the walls and begged to commit a suicide.
However, during the arraignment hearing at the criminal court of peace, it turned out that the suspects, claimed by the governor’s office as “perpetrators” are actually innocent villagers who were on the field that day to pick up wild mushrooms. They were released.
No investigation was launched into the governor’s office or others who claimed these villagers were attackers and no probe was launched into torture and ill-treatment claims.
The torture, ill-treatment, abusive, inhuman and degrading treatment of people who are deprived of their liberties in Turkey’s detention centers and prisons have become a norm rather than an exception under increased nationalistic euphoria and religious zealotry in the country, a study by Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) earlier this month has revealed.
On December 2016, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer talked about an environment conducive to torture following a failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016. He noted that Turkey is not following up on investigating torture allegations. Melzer’s visit, the first by a UN torture expert to Turkey since 1998, came a month after US-based watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Turkish police of torturing detainees.
On Oct. 27, 2016, in a 43-page report titled “A Blank Check: Turkey’s Post-Coup Suspension of Safeguards Against Torture,” HRW documented 13 specific abuse incidents concerning Turkey’s post-coup detainees. The alleged abuse cases ranged from the use of stress positions and sleep deprivation to severe beatings, sexual abuse and the threat of rape.
Human rights group Amnesty International reported on July 24, 2016 that it had received credible evidence of detainees in Turkey being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, since a failed coup on July 15.
At least 161,751 people were detained or investigated and 50,334 people were arrested in Turkey as part of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting members of the Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to government news agency Anadolu.
June 15, 2017