Making a series of examinations and meetings regarding the allegations of torture in custody in Halfeti in Urfa, the Foundation for Society and Legal Studies (TOHAV) has released a preliminary report.
Before preparing the report, representatives from the TOHAV met with the ones who stated that they were tortured in Halfeti as well as their lawyers and state authorities. The accounts of Urfa Bar Association and Human Rights Center members, who indicated that highly serious signs of torture were identified, have also been included in the preliminary report.
Of the ones who were taken into custody in an operation launched in the Neighborhood of Dergili (Dêrto) in Halfeti on May 18, 28 people were taken to courthouse to depose yesterday (May 29).
The TOHAV representatives have shared the following accounts made by the ones who were released after being detained in Halfeti:
"They have told that they were severely tortured; they were kept waiting for hours in custody, while they were handcuffed from behind, forced to lie on the floor facing downwards, kicked for several times and hit with the grips of guns; when they were taken to the security directorate, they were battered for more than once, electric shocks were given to their bodies, they were insulted and threatened and the marks of torture were not reported."
The Foundation has also shared the remarks made by the lawyers of the ones who stated that they were tortured in Halfeti:
"One of the detained told us that even half an hour before our meeting, while our committee was kept waiting, s/he was subjected to beating and could not see the ones who inflicted the torture because the room was dark.
"In a meeting made with a 65-year-old man with difficulties in hearing and expressing himself, it was detected that there were stitches in his face and head, there were bruises on his left cheek and below his right eye, he was nervous, his shirt was in tatters and had dried blood marks on it and he had difficulties in standing up and walking without help.
"He stated that when he was taken into custody, he was battered and kicked by being forced to lie on the ground, he heard gunshots, they were insulted, his whole body was in pain due to the torture he was subjected to and the torture continued for hours in the police department where they were taken.
"Another detained said to us 'I don't have life safety, I am afraid.' He stated that he was battered while his hands and feet were tied and his shirt was wrapped around his head. He told us that on the third day of his detention, his whole body was given electric shocks.
"He also indicated that while the physician was preparing a report on him, a police officer was also with them in the examination room and he could not show his torture marks to the doctor in fear.
"A woman detainee started the meeting, which was held in Kurdish, in tears. She recounted that she was forced to lie on the floor in her own house, her ears and arms were kicked, she was battered in her home and its garden, she was taken to the upper floor of the police department that she was referred to and electric shocks were given to her body there."
Some of the detained have also said that they were made to lister to the voices of those subjected to torture, the report has further indicated.
Concluding the preliminary report, the TOHAV has also made a call to the state to ensure that an immediate and effective investigation be launched into the complaints and reports of torture.
The TOHAV has also demanded that the related investigating bodies and public officers be withdrawn from the investigation in Halfeti and an administrative investigation be launched against them. The Foundations has also requested an investigation against the physicians who were on duty while the medical examination of the detained were conducted.
The Community and Legal Research Foundation (TOHAV) was founded in October 1994 by 46 lawyers registered in İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir Bar Associations. Since then, the Foundation has been investigating and monitoring human rights violations in all regions of Turkey. (AS/SD)
* Photograph: According to a statement released by the Urfa Bar Association, some social media accounts that define themselves as special operation police shared photographs featuring tens of people lying on the ground with their hands tied from behind. The photograph was presumed to be taken in the garden on Halfeti Gendarmerie station.