Villagers in southeastern Turkey’s Batman province claim mistreatment by gendarmerie

Reports of gendarmes’ mistreatment of villagers in southeastern Turkey’s Batman province during raids on their homes for allegedly “aiding terrorist organizations” have recently become public, the Mezopotamya news agency (MA) reported.

One of the villagers, Yahya Karabaş, said the gendarmes put a bag on his head when they detained him on March 30. He said he was mistreated in detention for four days. A photograph showed Karabaş with a bloodied eye and bruised face.

The Batman Governor’s Office denied the allegations in a statement on Tuesday, saying the villagers were detained according to the law and that the claims aimed to demoralize the gendarmerie.

“Three people who were detained were arrested for membership in a terrorist group and possessing illegal substances. They were sent to a maximum security prison in Batman,” said the statement.

Ill-treatment and torture have become widespread and systematic in Turkish detention centers and prisons. Lack of condemnation from higher officials and a readiness to cover up allegations rather than investigate them have resulted in widespread impunity for the security forces.

Human rights advocates and opposition politicians have tried to raise public awareness of mistreatment, especially after two inmates died by suicide after allegedly being mistreated by prison guards in Istanbul’s Silivri Prison on April 6.

Photographs of one of the inmates, who later died, showed him to be hospitalized and severely beaten. The family also released a photograph of his temporary coffin that appears to be drenched in blood.

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