Report: Turkish soldiers torture Kurdish shepherds in Şemdinli

Kurdish shepherds Nasır Taş and Ramazan Aktaş from a village in the Şemdinli district of Hakkari province were reportedly tortured by Turkish soldiers as they took their sheep to pasture early Thursday.

According to a report by the pro-Kurdish Mesopotamia news agency (MA), the shepherds  were taking their sheep to the pasture early in the morning when they were cut off by a group of soldiers from an outpost in Durak and tortured with the butts of weapons and batons as well as slapped and kicked.

The soldiers tortured Taş and Aktaş until they passed out and then left the men out in the open to die and departed the area. The shepherds were discovered hours later by relatives and were immediately taken to Şemdinli State Hospital.

The pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF) reported that Aktaş was discharged from the hospital, while Taş is still under observation and treatment. Taş has a fractured cheekbone and shows signs of torture on his shoulders, arms and other parts of his body.

Taş (56) told MA that a group of eight soldiers approached them and asked where members of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were. Taş said: “We told them that we just woke up and took our animals out, so we didn’t know. As soon as we said that, the soldiers started to torture us. They took my staff and started to beat me with it. Then they beat us with the butts of their guns. They kicked and slapped us for a long time. After this torture they took me to the banks of the river, pushed my head in the water and said, ‘You are a terrorist, we will kill you.’ They beat us for over two hours.”

Taş said he told the soldiers he was fasting but they continued with the torture, and he said: “Do you not believe in Allah? Why are you doing this?” but the torture increased. Taş also said the soldiers fired four shots right next to him during the torture and that he is lucky to be alive.

Taş said they lost consciousness due to the torture and that their relatives found them hours later at the top of a mountain in a woodland area out of sight where they had been left to die.

“The incident happened at 8:00 in the morning. We lost consciousness. Women came to milk the sheep at noon, but they didn’t see us. So they set out to search for us. After a while they found us in that remote place, unconscious, and told the other villagers. Then we were brought to the hospital.”

Meanwhile, ANF also reported that prison guards attacked prisoners in the Van T Type Prison, injuring three inmates, who had to be hospitalized.

According to the report, inmates at the prison, which has been the subject of allegations of torture since the day it opened, called for guards after one of them fell ill on May 29.

The guards, however, did not come to the ward, resulting in a quarrel, after which several guards arrived and attacked the prisoners. The report said three prisoners were injured, taken to the hospital for treatment and were later returned to their ward.

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