Turkish lawyer detained, beaten and abandoned by ‘police’

Nevşin Mengü (L) and his lawyer brother Burak Mengü.

Turkish lawyer Burak Mengü, the brother of journalist and renowned TV news presenter Nevşin Mengü and the son of a former parliamentarian from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), was detained, beaten and left in the middle of the road by men claiming to be policemen on Saturday.

According to a report by online news outlet Ahval, Burak Mengü posted a tweet on Saturday afternoon reading: “I am being detained by a civilian team who declined to show their police identity or an arrest warrant. I ask them where they are taking me, no one answers. I don’t know who is taking me or where.”

His sister Nevşin Mengü tweeted that Burak Mengü was kidnapped by people who said they were police but who beat him and later left him in the middle of nowhere. “Is there a group or structure inside the police that acts illegally?” she asked.

Two hours later she once again tweeted, “The police chief told me that there was no arrest warrant and that he will investigate this personally.”

Şahin Mengü, Burak Mengü’s father, told the Özgürüz online news outlet on Saturday: “We cannot understand what just happened. He was left in a vacant plot in the Dudullu neighbourhood of İstanbul. Right now he is talking to the police at the station. He will file a complaint about the incident. He was beaten up.”

According to data compiled by the Arrested Lawyers Initiative, as of March 14, the Turkish government had prosecuted at least 1,539 lawyers and arrested 579 of them and put them in pre-trial detention while sentencing 99 lawyers since a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

It was recorded that 13 people affiliated with the Gülen movement were abducted in Turkey, 11 of them kidnapped in Ankara by Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT)-affiliated paramilitary forces that work with total impunity. The mysterious kidnappings in Turkey are bringing back fear of the enforced disappearances by state agencies in the mid-1990s.

While opposition politicians put the number at eight, Turkey’s Human Rights Association (İHD), an independent NGO, said it had documented 10 cases as of May 2017. Another two abductions are alleged to have taken place in June.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Turkish Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül in a letter on Aug. 3, 2017 to investigate the abductions and possible enforced disappearances in Ankara of at least four men who have been missing since March 2017.

In the 1990s, at the height of the state’s brutal war against terrorists of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), security forces disappeared hundreds of civilians, most of them Kurds. Often, they were tortured. Some victims’ bodies were eventually found; in many cases, their fate remains unknown to this day. Over the years, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found the Turkish state responsible in numerous cases.

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