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Human Rights

Expelled Turkish public servant denied rights despite acquittal

Fatih Murat Coskun, a Turkish public servant who was expelled during the crackdown that followed the failed 2016 coup, was acquitted and he earned the right to compensation from the state for the days he was imprisoned, yet he could not take his previous job.

Coşkun had been working as a specialist in the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) until his life completely changed, similar to thousands of public employees after July 15 putsch bid.
After the complaint of an imam who worked in the same town with him following the coup attempt, he lost his job and his freedom alike.

Coskun, who was expelled from his post under the emergency decree numbered 675, had been arrested over the same complaint. He was imprisoned for eight months and twenty days on terror charges over ties with Hizmet Movement and was acquitted after a lengthy trial.

Coşkun filed a lawsuit for unjust imprisonment and won it. The state was ordered to pay 20,508 Lira for pecuniary and 22,500 lira for non-pecuniary damages.

Although Coskun was acquitted and his imprisonment was deemed unjust by the court, he was not given the right to return to this profession. The committee to view the State of Emergency acts rejected his appeal to return to his post.

He Tried all Legal ways

Coşkun said that his life turned upside down after being expelled from his job and getting arrested afterward.

He explained how everything started with an unfounded accusation and his struggle for justice.

“They suspended me from my job after the notice of an imam working in the same town, then went through an administrative investigation and then the criminal investigation began before the administrative investigation ended,” said Coskun.

“I was detained in August 2016, and I was arrested on August 26. I was behind bars for about eight months and 20 days. When I was in prison, I was expelled by an emergency decree. I was released in the first hearing, which resulted in acquittal. The prosecutor objected to my acquittal and took the file to the Court of Appeals. The higher court denied the prosecutor’s request. So my acquittal was confirmed.”

“After my acquittal was approved, I filed a lawsuit for compensation. In March 2018, my case was accepted by Aksaray 1st Heavy Penal Court. My court ended last week. The court ordered restitution for my unlawful detention.”

“I sent my acquittal decision to the State of Emergency committee. I received a rejection from them that came in June. Although I was acquitted, I received a refusal. I took the case to the Ankara Administrative Court. My objection is still being evaluated there.”

 

After losing his job and getting out of jail, Coşkun found it hard to find a job.

“I have been working in restaurants for about two years. I started with dishwashing; now I’m a cook and married with a child and expecting our second baby. My wife was a nurse who was expelled like me. She worked at the Ministry of Health. Her case is still in the state of the emergency committee.”

His fight for justice ongoing, Coskun said his priority is not to go back to his previous job.

“My effort is for rights. I was taken away from the opportunities I deserved. I was mistreated and did not deserve it. There are thousands of friends who are worse off than me. Mine is a search for rights. While hundreds of women, babies, sick, and elderly prisoners are in jail and struggling. I would be ashamed of myself demanding my right to go back to work. We want to make our voices, our struggle heard, tell and inform about injustices.”

After July 15, more than 150,000 public employees in Turkey were expelled without due process. Their dismissals were recorded in their social security files as such, which made it near-impossible for them to find a job in the private sector.

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Parents arrested, disabled children left at home alone

Ali und Elif Kısa

On the International Day of Disabled Persons, Ali & Elif Kisa was arrested for being elected to the Peoples` Democratic Party (HDP) administration. One of their children is deaf and mute and the other is mentally disabled.

On December 3, the International Day of Disabled Persons, parents of two disabled children were arrested in the Elbistan district of Maraş.

According to Mesopotamia Agency; 70-year-old Ali and Elif Kısa have been detained 3 times since 2017. Ali Kısa, who supports his family with his retirement pension, has been involved in political activities for many years. Ali Kısa, who has been the HDP district manager since HDP was founded, was detained together with his wife Elif Kısa in 2017. While his wife was released by judicial control, Ali Kısa was arrested on charges of helping the terror organization. After being detained for 7 months, Kısa was acquitted from the file on which he was tried. During his detention in prison, Ali Kısa, who had severe conditions and high cholesterol prostate surgery, decreased from 116 to 79 kilos.

Threat before the congress

Ali Kısa was taken into custody together with his wife Elif again on November 13, 2019. They were released on condition of judicial control after the threats “If you go to HDP and join the administration again, we will get you again”. Ali Kısa was re-elected to the management at HDP District Congress on November 17th. Ali Kısa was taken into custody with his wife Elif again on 3 December. Ali and Elif Kısa were arrested on terror charges.

Parents arrested on the International Day of Disabled Persons

Ali and Elif Kısa were arrested on December 3rd the International Day of Disabled Persons and their two children with disabilities were left alone. One of their sons is 44-year-old İsmail, who is mentally challenged, deaf and speech-impaired. İsmail has a “Severe Disability” report which means he is totally in need of his mother’s care.

Their other son is 42-year-old Ahmet, with a hearing and speech disability of 64 percent. Ahmet closed his painting workshop so that he could look after his brother. Both brothers cannot hear the doorbell as they are hearing and speech impaired. İsmail is also obsessed with cleanliness. He was bathed every day by his mother. He can not eat without the help of someone. His fingers bleed because he often cuts his nails. For not taking his medication regularly, he gets nervous.

Toğrul: Children cannot sustain their lives

HDP Deputy Mahmut Toğrul also pointed out the situation of Ali and Elif Kısa in the Turkish Grand National Assembly. “In Elbistan, Ali Kısa, Elif Kısa, and Bekir Kara were detained on 3 December and arrested. Ali Kısa and Bekir Kara are our current district managers and Elif Kısa is our previous district manager. Ali and Elif Kısa are 70 years old and have 2 children. One is 80 percent mentally challenged, the other is hearing and speech impaired. There’s no one else in the house. The two children are not able to look after themselves at home. The family has expressed their children`s situation in custody, but they have been arrested in spite of this.”

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Human Rights

Germany helps Turkish teen escape torture

Can Erdem, 17, was able to fly away from Turkey with the help of the German Consulate in Istanbul. Consul made this decision because of torture to Can’s retired father from Deutsche Bahn.

Can family is among the first generation of Turkish workers in Germany. His father, Ahmet Can, came to Germany as a guest worker in the late 60s and worked in the mines. He was a Deutsche Bahn employee in Duisburg.

Suffering from thalassemia, 32-year-old Ahmet Can retired and returned to Turkey with his wife and children.

The Can family’s life has turned into a nightmare in recent years after they lived about 15 years without any problems in the city of Corum in Turkey. Ahmet Can, his wife, and 17-year-old son were detained on the same day in April 2019.

Ahmet Can, who has to use medication every day because of thalassemia, was not given his medication regularly during his 8-day detention.

Ahmet Can had seizures three times during his detention. Police called the ambulance twice, and he was taken to the hospital once. During the interrogation, “I am a German citizen, you cannot interrogate me,” said Ahmet Can. Subsequently, the German Consulate stepped in through his lawyer and followed the process.

 

He was rearrested

Erdem Can talks about his father’s experiences, his own experiences and the supports of the German Consulate:

“Very bad things have been done to my father while he was in custody. He had a hooded sweatshirt and a white tank top. He got the color of his shirt on his skin. We asked him ‘what did they do to you, Dad?’ He said; ‘it was so bad, I don’t remember anything, I just know they dragged me away.’”

“They took him interrogation at 10:00 AM held him for 3-4 days and left him at 03:00 AM. He doesn’t remember much about the detention process. He had many attacks within this time. He lost 6 kilograms in 4 days. They called an ambulance twice, and a medical team came to the interrogation once. If he doesn’t use his medicine one day, seizures start, no pills were given during the first days of his detention.”

“We asked for the surveillance footage from the police station, the court rejected”

“Our lawyer asked for surveillance footage to prove the torture, but the court rejected it.”

“My father never recovered after what happened there. He has been always having crises. When there were four days for the second court, my father had another attack, and we made him hospitalized. He wasn’t in a position to go to court. The doctor said; ‘I cannot send this patient in such a condition.’ The court asked Hospital to leave my father to come to the hearing. And the hospital discharged my father. He went to the courtroom with his lawyer in one arm and my mother in his other arm. After the judge asked a few questions, my father lost his consciousness. They had to call an ambulance.”

“They took him back to the hospital. At the request of the judge, a few hours later, a doctor and two medical personnel were brought my father to court again. My father said; ‘I was in such a position in the police station too. They made me signed 250 pages, I do not remember any of them’”

“Then the judge had to interrupt the query. He was taken to hospital again. Then my father was arrested. Currently, He is with 38 people in the 14-person ward. He is sick and the environment that he is in, is very bad. ”

 

“I was treated very badly in detention”

 

“The day they first detained my father, they took my mother and me into custody too. I was detained for 14 hours in the police station, they made me lied on the ground constantly and I was insulted and cursed. I was left hungry and dehydrated for 12 hours. Then they threw a piece of bread in front of me.

According to the law, I can’t be handcuffed because I’m 17, but they did. My statement should have been accompanied by a psychologist and a lawyer. They didn’t do that too. They threatened to give me to the orphanage. They said I will be arrested when I am 18.

They asked me, ‘How many weapons are there in the house?’ I said there are no guns. They didn’t find any guns in our house. When they put my statement in front of me to sign, it was written on the statement that ‘I said there are 14 guns in our house’ I did not say anything like this. They changed it when I said I wouldn’t sign it.”

 

Germany is engaged

 

A lawyer from the German Consulate noted all of our experiences. They took hospital reports, documents about my father. A German and a Turkish delegation sent to the hearing.

When it became clear that Father Ahmet Can had been tortured in custody, Germany Consulate decided quickly to remove Erdem Can from Turkey before the age of 18.

He was quickly issued a green passport and arrived on 22 September 2019 in Germany. The father was arrested about a month later in October 2019, despite his severe illness.

 

Charged over aiding Gulen movement members

 

Ahmet Can, a German citizen, was first sued for helping the members of the Gulen Movement whose relatives were detained, and then he was sued because of being a member of the organization. Following his release, Can appeared in court three times, he was arrested again on October 25, 2019, and sentenced to 8 years imprisonment for refusing his testimony, which was taken during torture and signed when he was unconscious.

Erdem Can, who was born in 2002 in Dinslaken, Germany, called on the German authorities for his father:

“Thank you very much for bringing me here and for protecting me. I want to live in a democratic country and receive a good education here. We are 4 siblings. My two brothers are studying in Germany and I’m staying with them, but my father is in trouble. He is still in Corum Prison. He was tortured while in custody. My father is only being tried for helping people.”

 

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Human Rights

Turkish court sentences torturers in landmark ruling

Ercivan Özcan, who was tortured in Manisa Prison until his arm was broken, managed to convict two guards (prison officers) despite the laws protecting the torturers.

CEVHERİ GÜVEN

BOLD EXCLUSIVE – In Manisa T Type Prison, Ercivan Özcan was beaten by the guards and his left arm was broken in several spots from shoulder to elbow. Moreover, he had pneumonia in those days. After Özcan was discharged from the hospital and returned to prison, he continued his legal struggle despite the pressure by the prison administration and had two guards who tortured him expelled from their positions as the court sentenced them to 5 years imprisonment.

Ercivan Özcan, who lives in the Turgutlu district of Manisa, was detained as part of Gülen movement-related probes on September 1, 2016, over the notices made during the period of the state of emergency. He was detained in Manisa T Type Prison for 18 months and was released pending trial during the first hearing on January 29, 2018. However, he experienced severe rights violations while he was in prison.

He was tortured when he had pneumonia

Ercivan Özcan, who was 57 years old when he was arrested, stayed with 30 people in a 10-person ward and contracted pneumonia due to bad prison conditions.

Özcan was diagnosed with pneumonia on January 18, 2017, but it was decided to continue his treatment in his ward, not in the hospital. The next day, during the morning headcount, Ozcan’s ward was raided by the guards because 3 detainees were late for the counting.

Ozcan who was standing in the cold in the courtyard for 20 minutes, exposed torture because of the expression he said with the pain of his illness; “If I have the right, I will take my rightful due it in the Hereafter”. According to the information given in the indictment, Özcan was laid down by the guards by twisting his two arms upside down despite him shouting that his “arm was defective”, he was repeatedly beaten with blows particularly on his left arm.

According to the forensic report of the Manisa State Hospital, Özcan’s arm was severely fractured between the shoulder and elbow, adding that there was severe and lifelong damage to his vital functions.

 

Eight days without surgery
Özcan was not sent to the hospital as a separate punishment after his arm was broken. Consequently, he lost his conscious in the ward. After 2.5 hours, his arm was completely black and swollen. Özcan was transferred to Manisa State Hospital upon the insistent demand of two doctors and pharmacists in his ward.

Because of pneumonia, Ozcan lungs were in poor condition that is why he could not be operated due to life-threatening risks. Blood was taken from his arm continuously every day until he was operated finally at the end of the eighth day.

He commenced a legal struggle
Özcan was sent back to prison after the surgery and when he saw that the guards Volkan Akkuş and Özgür Kutlu who had tortured him were still on duty, he started an intense legal struggle.

Özcan brought the matter to the judiciary after the prison management continued to send these two guards for the headcount in his ward.

Ercivan Özcan, who carried out the legal struggle with great care, submitted many the reports that ‘he was vitally injured’ attaching testimony of many eye-witnesses. In the light of clear evidence and reports, the court convicted two guards on May 13, 2019.

After a long legal struggle, the guards Volkan Akkuş and Özgür Kutlu were found guilty by the Manisa 2nd High Criminal Court. While Akkuş and Kutlu were removed from the civil service, they were also sentenced to 6 years imprisonment separately. Due to their good conduct at the hearing, this penalty was reduced to 5 years.

Ercivan Özcan’s arm was operated thoroughly and multiple fractures were treated.

Ercivan Özcan also filed a lawsuit against the two guards for damages due to the permanent loss of strength and weakness in his arm that gets worse day by day.

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