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Gaziantep Bar Association confirms torture claims in Halfeti district of Şanlıurfa

Gaziantep Bar Association Human Rights Center confirmed torture in Halfeti district of Şanlıurfa province, Turkey.

In a press statement released by the Gaziantep Bar Association said, “The allegations of torture and ill-treatment were true.”

BOLD – 

Clashes occurred in Dergili (Derto), Halfeti district of Şanlıurfa when Şanlıurfa anti-terror police teams, police special operations teams and gendarmerie special operations units conducted operation on members of an illegal organization on May 18.

During the clashes between security forces and members of PKK terrorist organization in Halfeti district of Şanlıurfa, one officer lost his life and two members of illegal organization were killed.

After the conflict, a large number of citizens were detained collectively and the allegations of torture and ill-treatment were reflected in the press.

The Board of Directors of Gaziantep Bar Association has assigned Gaziantep Bar Association Human Rights Commission to investigate the allegations of torture and ill-treatment in the province of Şanlıurfa.

In a report prepared by the members of the Bar Association, it was determined that the allegations of “torture and ill-treatment” were true.

TORTURE CLAIMS IN MEDIA

A large number of applications detailing torture claims were made to the Human Rights Center of the Şanlıurfa Bar Association.

In various social media accounts, people defining themselves as special operations police have shared photos of dozens of people with hands cuffed face down on the ground in place which was thought to be the garden of Halfeti Gendarmerie Station.

According to lawyer members of Şanlıurfa Bar Association Human Rights Center, it was confirmed that these allegations and suspicions have been proven true by the lawyers’ investigations into prosecution meetings and interviews with detainees. Gaziantep Bar Association has not shared names of the victims and their lawyers due to security concerns.

ELECTROSHOCK, SQUEEZING BALLS, VIOLATION OF LAWYER-CLIENT CONFIDENTIALITY  

Gaziantep Bar Association report said, “The detainees were subjected to torture for a long time after being placed face down on the ground during the detention and handcuffed behind their back. This situation is clearly understood from the captured photos and the scar marks and stitches in the persons. Also they are in accordance with the statements of the persons.”

The Gaziantep Bar Association Human Rights Center report detailed human rights violations, the torture and ill treatment cases. The findings of the report is listed as follows:

  • Suspects under detention were prohibited to communicate with their lawyers for a long time.
  • Prohibition of lawyer-client meetings and/or violation of their confidentiality,
  • Presence of appointed lawyers from “central appointing system (OCAS)” instead of suspects’ personal lawyers during custodial interrogation,
  • Electric shocks, squeezing balls of male detainees,
  • A 50 year old female detainee’s genital areas electrified, severely beaten and subjected to severe insults,
  • Bruises in various parts of a 60-year-old male detainees’s body,
  • A male detainee was beaten for 4 hours in detention center, and he was also beaten in the hospital and ambulance.
TORTURE CLAIMS COVERED UP 
  • Detainees were threatened not to bring their torture claims in court hearings,
  • Judges and prosecutors were reluctant to record torture and ill-treatment claims in court documents,
  • Prosecutors have not investigated torture claims,
  • Torture claims were covered up,

The report concluded that “there were intense cases of torture in judicial units in Şanlıurfa.”

Gaziantep Bar Association demanded all male and female detainees who are being detained and tortured in Şanlıurfa Police Department Anti-Terror Branch should be immediately dispatched to medical jurisprudence.

Bar Association also asked the detainees should be transferred to other units immediately and the necessary inspections should be carried out regarding their situation.

For the English translation of Gaziantep Bar Association Human Rights Center full report

Gaziantep Bar Association’s Report on Torture Claims in Halfeti district of Şanlıurfa

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BOLD ÖZEL

Gaziantep Bar Association’s Report on Torture Claims in Halfeti district of Şanlıurfa

Gaziantep Bar Association Human Rights Center confirmed torture in Halfeti district of Şanlıurfa province, Turkey.

In a press statement released by the Gaziantep Bar Association said, “The allegations of torture and ill-treatment were true.”

BOLD – 

The English translation of Gaziantep Bar Association Human Rights Center full report is as follows:

GAZİANTEP BAR ASSOCIATION HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER REPORT ON THE TORTURES IN ŞANLIURFA TEM BRANCH (ANTI-TERROR BRANCH)

(05.18.2019-05.24.2019)

On 05.18.2019, clashes occurred in Dergili (Derto), Halfeti district of Şanlıurfa when Şanlıurfa Tem Branch teams, special operations police and gendarmerie special operations units conducted operation on members of an illegal organization. During the operation, one officer lost his life and two members of illegal organization got killed. As a result of the incident, some news was released regarding numerous cases of detention in the district where clashes took place, neighboring districts, villages and Bozova district. People detained in these places are claimed to be tortured. A large number of applications were made to the Human Rights Center of the Şanlıurfa Bar Association. In various social media accounts defining themselves as special operations police, they shared photos of dozens of people with hands cuffed face down on the ground in place which was thought to be the garden of Halfeti Gendarmerie Station. When the Şanlıurfa Bar Association identified torture and lawyer restrictions in press releases, the Gaziantep Bar Association decided to go to the region with a delegation to analyze and report the situation.

According to lawyer members of Şanlıurfa Bar Association Human Rights Center, It was confirmed and determined that these allegations and suspicions have been proven true by the lawyers’ investigations into prosecution meetings and interviews with detainees. Şanlıurfa Bar Association made a public announcement on 22.05.2019 in a press release.

On 24.05.2019, the head of Şanlıurfa Bar Association, Mr. Abdullah Öncel, was visited by 7 lawyers who were members of the Human Rights Center of the Gaziantep Bar Association. They interviewed with lawyers of some suspects under detention and went to Şanlıurfa Anti-Terrorism Branch Directorate to meet with 6 persons about whom they had been briefed. The following information is based on the observation of our delegation and the information obtained from these meetings and visits. (Note: the names are not shared at this stage because the detention process is ongoing and there is a risk that the lawyers will be targeted with the repetition of torture.)

The detainees were subjected to torture for a long time after being placed face down on the ground during the detention and handcuffed behind their back. This situation is clearly understood from the captured photos and the scar marks and stitches in the persons. Also they are in accordance with the statements of the persons.

According to information received from lawyers and Şanlıurfa Bar Association, suspects under detention were prohibited to communicate with their lawyers as there was 24-hour prohibition and they were not able to communicate with their lawyers for a while although this period ended. It was determined that there was a restriction imposed by law enforcement unit that one suspect could only meet with one lawyer and this was practice was by the decision of the investigating prosecutor. During the meeting with the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, it was reported that there was no restriction in this direction. It was also stated that a law enforcement officer would be present during the interview and that suspect would not be interviewed alone with their lawyers. Thereupon, the Lawyers’ Rights Center of Şanlıurfa Bar Association objected to the situation and took this issue under record. However, it was requested by law enforcement unit that a new lawyer be sent from OCAS (automatic central lawyer appointment system) system directly in this procedure. In order to prevent attitudes towards the prevention of these and similar attorneys’ activities, the problems were partially solved by the Bar Association via interruption of the OCAS system for a while.

Although some suspects have their own lawyers, some of the lawyers were stalled. Those in charge of the situation tried to get a statement from the suspects with the lawyer appointed from the OCAS system. The lawyer appointed by the CMK (the Code of Criminal Procedure) stated that the person had been subjected to torture but did not wish to put his statement in this direction as he was afraid of the continuation of the torture and threats.

6 of the detainees were asked to interviewed but two of them were reported to have been taken to the fingerprint process and therefore they could not be interviewed. After an average of 2 hours, it was declared to us that these persons had not yet been brought back from fingerprinting process. (Although 6 days have passed since suspects were first detained, their fingerprints have not been taken yet. This leads to the impression that fingerprints have not been taken so as not to reveal the new scars in the photos taken in this process.)

All of the interviewees showed signs consistent with their stories of violence.

One of the interviewees stated that he had been subjected to torture during his detention. He stated that he had been subjected to torture by electric shocks during his detention and by squeezing his balls. It was found that the eyebrows of the person were split and there were 8 staple stitches on his head and there were bruises on various parts of his body. He stated that the torture had stopped for the last two days.

The detainee (50-year-old woman) stated that they came to their homes at 2 o’clock at night and 5 people were laid face down in the garden and kept in such a way until 7.00 am, and during this time, her husband and son were subjected to constant violence. When she asked why they were beating his husband and son, she was also subjected to violence. However, she reports that she was subjected to much more severe torture in detention. He stated that she could not describe the type of torture because she was ashamed that the interviewees were men, but she stated that she had been given electricity, severely beaten and subjected to severe insults. She stated that she had told her lawyer about the heavier and more detailed dimensions of the torture and we could get information from her lawyer. She could only show her arm to us. Excessive swelling and bruising was observed on the person’s arms. Externally, the information obtained from the lawyers of the suspects is that genital areas of women had also been electrified.

One of the suspects (about 60-year-old male) has difficulty walking and getting up and having new stitches from his left temporalis to his eyebrows and up his forehead. There are dense broad ring bruises on both eyes and underneath. There are also bruises in various parts of his body, and his shirt is torn with blood stains. The person declared to us that he had been brought into this situation while being detained. It was observed that the person was in intense fear and had problems in trusting the people he spoke to.

Another person stated in his statement that he had been beaten from 2 am to 6 am in the morning and he was also beaten in the hospital and ambulance. There were signs that these tortures had been committed within the knowledge of investigating prosecutor.

– When a person declared during his statement in the prosecution that he had been subjected to torture, his statement was interrupted and he was threatened by the police that his statement would not be taken on the pretext of lack of identification. After the suspect gave up his statement regarding the torture, his statement was taken.

– Although suspects should be dispatched after their statement in the prosecutor’s office, extension of their detention period was requested by claiming that there were deficiencies such as digital material examination which is not normally compulsory for dispatching and it is not known how long it will take. The detention periods of the persons were extended and some persons whose detention period was extended were tortured again.

The persons stated at the Magistrates’ Court that they had been tortured. Their defendant lawyers had these statements recorded and requested that suspects would at least be placed in another unit. It was stated by the Magistrate Judge that this matter was at the discretion of the prosecutor’s office and this request was rejected.

– Despite the allegations of torture the traces of severe violence in the persons, public prosecutor has not fulfilled the responsibility given to him by law and regulation. Article 92 of Turkish Criminal Procedure Code No. 527: “In the course of their judicial duties, the chief public prosecutors or public prosecutors appointed by them shall inspect the custody centers where the individuals taken into custody shall be accommodated, including, if any, the rooms where interviews are conducted, the factual situation of the individuals in custody, the grounds for being taken into custody and for the custody periods, as well as all the written material and interactions related to being taken into custody, and the outcome shall be noted into the record book of individuals taken into custody. “The prosecutor was reluctant to record the statements of torture. He did not attempt to determine the situation, and nor did he share the situation with the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in order to prevent a possible torture case. He also did not evaluate the demands.

As a result, it was concluded that there were intense cases of torture in judicial units in Şanlıurfa. Prior to this incident, the lawyers registered to Şanlıurfa Bar Association observed that there had been cases of torture.

International agreements, which Turkey is a party to, have put some obligations on the administration to fight against the crime of torture. There is an absolute ban on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and outrages upon personal dignity. It is even prohibited during the state of emergency and war.  Constitutional rights and guarantees are disregarded.

In Şanlıurfa province, urgent actions are needed to combat the crime of torture which is against the law and humanity. The urgent suggestions and requests that come to the fore are as follows:

-All male and female detainees who are being detained and tortured in Şanlıurfa Police Department Anti-Terror Branch should be immediately dispatched to medical jurisprudence.

– The detainees should be transferred to other units immediately and the necessary inspections should be carried out regarding their situation. Negotiations should be conducted with Şanlıurfa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Şanlıurfa Governorate, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Interior.

– An application must be made to the HSK and the Ministry of Justice to remove the prosecutor from the file and initiate a judicial and administrative investigation.

-The Bar Association and TBB should call for an extraordinary meeting in the province of Şanlıurfa with the governorship and the public prosecutor’s office in order to prevent torture by absolute determination. Also intellectual follow-up is required.

-A joint committee should establish a joint delegation with bar associations in Adana, Mersin, Hatay, Adiyaman, Kilis, Osmaniye, and the whole process of the situation should be observed in coordination with Şanlıurfa Bar Association.

– Turkish Medical Association should be called for and it is necessary to determine the defects or omissions of the health workers involved in the hospital processes of these persons. Also some programs should be applied to raise awareness of health workers in Şanlıurfa in the long term.

With respect to the press and the public…

                                                                                                               Gaziantep Bar Association

Gaziantep Bar Association confirms torture claims in Halfeti district of Şanlıurfa

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“Zero tolerance policy for torture”: A forgotten phrase in Turkey for a long while

Human Rights Defender Ms. Eren Keskin said that a five months pregnant woman associated with the Hizmet movement stripped naked and given physical instructions that will harm her pregnancy in a Turkish jail.

BOLD – Human Rights Defender and lawyer Eren Keskin shared findings of her last visit to a prison in Turkey and she gave details of a meeting with a woman who was arrested in investigations for the Hizmet Movement.

Ms. Keskin said that the woman had been stripped naked and sit-to-stand instructions that will harm her pregnancy were given when she was 5-months pregnant.

Keskin reminded the zero tolerance policy for torture of the government of Turkey and asked the fate of forgotten policy.

ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY FOR TORTURE IN TURKEY AND THE FAILED COUP ATTEMPT IN 2016 

After the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016, Erdoğan government accuses the Hizmet movement with carrying out failed coup attempt which Hizmet movement always denied the accusation.

Since the failed coup attempts  in 2016, the Erdogan government put at least 77 thousand people in jail and detentions and arrests still continue ceaselessly.

Recently, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu stated that 550,000 people are subject to investigations due to their connection with the Hizmet Movement in Turkey.

Among these 190,000 people were detained or arrested.

Currently, about 37,000 people are in Turkey’s prisons because of their connection with the movement.

After the failed coup attempt, human rights violations, torture and mistreatment of members of Hizmet movement are widespread in Turkey.

Many international organizations and non-governmental organizations documented torture and mistreatment cases.

WOMEN AND BABIES IN ERDOĞAN REGİME 

773 babies and children up to 6 years old age stay in prisons with their mothers who are mostly in pretrial detention.

There are over 10 thousand women in Turkey’s prisons for being member of Hizmet movement.

Many pregnant women are also imprisoned.

Even pregnant women are kept in detention after giving birth.

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Untold story of 19-year teacher in Turkey

A former teacher dismissed by a government decree will end up in jail just because of having a deposit account in a government audited bank and membership in a officially founded association.

Prison sentence of Muhammed Koşar, father of three children, has been approved by a first degree appeal court.

BOLD – Muhammed Koşar, 46, who has been able to walk with the aid of crutches since he was 2 years old, and had been a primary school teacher until 2016.

Koşar was dismissed by a government decree on 1 September 2016 and then a legal proceeding has been initiated.

JUDICIAL UNCONVENTIONALITY IN TURKISH LEGAL HISTORY 

Legal charges against Koşar are not the ones that have been in legal history of Turkey but they have been extensively filed against members of Hizmet movement.

Mainly, two charges filed against Koşar. The first charge is having a deposit account in a government audited bank. The second one is membership in a officially founded association.

Kosar was sentenced to 1 year and 13 months of imprison term even without hearing his accounts and defense on these matters.

Koşar’s jail term is approved by a first degree court of appeals last month. He is about to leave his wife and three children, and end up in jail.

BANK ASYA AND THE HİZMET MOVEMENT 

Bank Asya was established in October 24, 1996 with its head office in Istanbul, as the sixth private finance house of Turkey.

At the end of 2009, Bank Asya’s total assets reached TRY14 billion. Bank Asya rose by 47 places in the “Top 1000 World Bank Ranking” of “The Banker” Magazine in 2010, rising to 473 from 520. At the same time, Bank Asya ranked 403rd on “The Banker’s Top 500 Banking Brands”. Bank Asya has also become the largest participation bank in Turkey. Bank Asya become the largest participation bank in Turkey.

Bank Asya carried out its activities with 182 branches, 2 national and 1300 foreign correspondent banks besides the head office units as of May 2011.

Bank Asya is seen closely associated with Hizmet movement in Turkish media.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan government has attacked the Hizmet movement in 2013 to cover up the biggest corruption scandal in modern Turkish history.

Erdoğan regime especially targeted Bank Asya, seen as closely connected with the Hizmet movement after the corruption scandal .

In 2015, the Government Saving Deposits Insurance Fund of Turkey (TMSF) with the directives of Erdoğan regime acquired control of Bank Asya.

On 22 July 2016, the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) cancelled Bank Asya’s banking permissions as part of the 2016 purges.

After the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016, Turkish prosecutors filed charges against thousands of people just because of having a deposit account in Bank Asya and Turkish courts handed prison terms ranging from 1 year to 6 year to Bank Asya customers.

THE ONGOING WITCH HUNT IN TURKEY 

Erdoğan government accuses the Hizmet movement with carrying out failed coup attempt which Hizmet movement always denied the accusation.

Since the failed coup attempts  in 2016, the Erdogan government put at least 77 thousand people in jail and detentions and arrests still continue ceaselessly.

Recently, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu stated that 550,000 people are subject to investigations due to their connection with the Hizmet Movement in Turkey.

Among these 190,000 people were detained or arrested.

Currently, about 37,000 people are in Turkey’s prisons because of their connection with the movement.

773 babies and children up to 6 years old age stay in prisons with their mothers who are mostly in pretrial detention.

HAVING A DEPOSIT ACCOUNT IN A GOVERNMENT AUDITED BANK SEEN AS SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM 

Koşar, father of three children, is going to be imprisoned within a week or two because the Court of Appeal approved ruling of the Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court on 15 May 2019.

Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court, has seen having a deposit account as a sponsor of terrorism. The court claimed that Kosar deposited money to Bank Asya with instruction from the Hizmet movement.


Muhammed Koşar, who has been able to walk with the aid of crutches since he was 2 years old, stated that the reason to choose Bank Asya was just because of its branch’s proximity to his home.

He also added that income from interest is forbidden in his belief, Islam and Bank Asya was an interest-free bank.

Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court, rejected Koşar’s accounts and seen having a deposit account and deposit card in a bank as a sponsor of terrorism.

Turkish representative, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, member of Parliamentary Human Rights Investigation Committee, harshly criticized the court ruling.

A 19-YEAR PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHER


Muhammed Koşar, who worked in Adana Seyhan Atatürk Primary School, is a 19-year teacher. He is married and has 3 children, Betül (18), Azra (14), Fatih Burak (8).


After the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016, he was detained and taken to Diyarbakir.

After two days in custody, he was released by the Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court pending trial.

On 10 July 2018 in Diyarbakir, the court sentenced him to 1 year 13 months of imprisonment even without hearing his accounts and defense on these matters.

The First Degree Court of Appeal approved ruling of the Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court on 15 May 2019. He is going to be arrested and sent to jail in a couple of weeks.

Koşar says, “I think the notification will reach to me on weekdays. I have 3 children and my wife is a housewife. We earn our lives with the help of our friends and a small amount of rental income. We start to sell bakery products in o local market with my wife. If I am arrested, my wife will be alone. All of my children are students. One of them is preparing for the university exam, and the other is preparing for the high school exam. The youngest goes to second grade. We don’t know what to do.”


KOŞAR’S RIGHT TO QUALIFY FOR A PENSION REJECTED BY SOCIAL SECURITY INSTITUTION 

Muhammed Koşar was also faced with a violation of rights on retirement;
“Despite my retirement age, my pension was rejected by Social Security Institution because I was fired (with a government decree). I applied to the court. Although the Administrative Court approved my pension, Social Security Institution appealed to the upper court. I don’t know how it ends. In other words, people with disabilities are suffering. Disabled people, according to the degree of disability, retire between 15-18 years. Because we are fired, Social Security Institution says that I will work for 25 years or wait until I am at least 60 years old to qualify for a pension.”

 

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