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Sexual harassment and torture claims in Turkish jails

When the working hours are over and the personnel leaves for home, a group of people, describing themselves as ‘from the state’ start to torture.

The claims of sexual torture towards those who are taken into the custody in regard to their relation with Gülen Movement or FETO surfaced. Recently, there were several claims of sexual torture in Ankara branch of Financial Crimes towards a group of approximately 1000 people, who are also accused as “Sacred Imams” of the group, taken into custody in April, reported by dihaber.

The interrogation statements including such sexual torture claims from 10 people comprised of teachers, students, doctors and former state officials were included in the trial’s proceedings. Those taken into the custody informed their defense attorneys of the claims with all aspects. Consequently, the attorneys requested Human Rights Association to take initiative to look into these claim, according to dihaber.

They introduced themselves as ‘from the state’ and started to torture.

According to his statement dated on May 6th in Ankara’s 2nd Criminal Court of Justice, S.K. said “three of us were taken to the ward’s office one by one. A group of people introducing themselves as ‘from the state’ took my clothes off completely, and threatened to rape me with the baton in addition to all insults and threats”.

‘Given under pressure, my statement contains false information’

Y.S. stated “I was taken into custody by Organized Crime division on Wednesday. I waited on my knees in a dark room. I was insulted and objected to the violence. I was then taken to the bathroom, forced to take my clothes off. I was threatened with rectal investigation by the baton. I was taken back to the custody place. I was told by the police that they would get to see me tomorrow again. I got depressed. I was taken to the same place on Thursdaynight. I was told to make use of the law of repentance. In order to save myself from the violence and threats, I gave some statements under such pressure. However, these statements are all false”

‘I am scared that next one is me for the sexual torture’ 

Defendants’ statements were reflected in the trial proceedings in a limited way however in their meetings with the defense attorneys they outlined the treatment with its all aspects they received under custody. B.O. applied to Human Rights Association via his defense lawyer, claiming that it might be his turn any moment for sexual torture and that his cellmates were already sexually tortured.

‘My client told me all about the sexual torture while crying’

A defense lawyer who requested his identity to be not disclosed noted as follows:

“I work as a defense lawyer in Ankara Bar Association. When I visited my client (B.O.) who is kept under custody in Financial Crimes Division of Ankara Police Headquaters, he mentioned to me about many of his cellmates being subjected to violence and torture as he burst into tears. He noted that he is scared that any moment it might be his turn for sexual torture…

My client was taken into the custody on 26th of April 2017 from his residence. The operation was publicly known as an operation to take approximately 1000 people into custody from their homes, who are claimed to be ‘FETO’s law enforcement imams’ ”

 ‘Torture starts after everyone leaves for the day’

According to what my client told me, within 6 sqm there are 15 people staying. He witnessed and heard from other defendants that after the regular working hours are over and when acting police officers call it a day, during night time some kind of police take everyone one by one into these special rooms, saying that the police would take the statements from each one of them. Once they are taken into the rooms, they are forced to take off their clothes, stripped naked and then a plastic bag is placed over their heads, tying their hands behind their back. A torture method called “bottle” are applied to them, harming their genitals and beaten up for hours. After all these, they are released back to their cells.

‘lost his consciousness due to torture but left untreated’

It is very likely that my client might be next for such violence and maltreatment. According to what my client told me, one of his cellmates lost his consciousness after he was returned to his cell from the special room. His head received heavy blows and he continued to throw up for two days. He was not taken to the hospital but was treated shortly in the emergency room. Most of the people in the custody are at old age. I was told that every one of them are being subjected to such torture to confess their guilt and to tell everything they know. Taking into account that my client could be still in the custody for next 7 days, I would like his name to be undisclosed and his personal information not to be leaked out until the investigation is completed and the subject matter can be brought out to the public domain. If such torture exists, we would like to request those responsible parties to be brought to the justice, protecting human rights”

CPT will be closely looking into the torture claims.

Human Rights Association has already carried the claims of sexual torture and maltreatment to the commission of Human rights in the parliament. In addition, HRA gave the files to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) who visited Turkey recently. CPT delegation emphasized that they will be very closely looking into these allegations.

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