Urfa Bar Association: Detainees in Halfeti Tortured

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During the conflict between the police and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on May 18 in Halfeti, Urfa, one police officer lost his life. As part of the investigation launched by the Şanlıurfa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office after the incident, at least 54 people were detained. The detainees were referred to the Şanlıurfa Security Directorate for testimony after the health control.

Şanlıurfa Bar Association Human Rights Center has made a statement on its Twitter account. It has been stated that the detainees, including children, were tortured and there are concrete signs of it.

In the statement, a call was made to the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Interior to denounce this incident of torture.

It has been underlined in the statement that the limitations on the lawyers for legal advice with the detained are illegal. The Center has also shared a photo, showing the handcuffed detainees who were forced to lie face downwards on the ground in Bozova Gendarmerie Station.

Social media: ‘What is happening in Halfeti?’

Diyarbakır Bar Association Chair Cihan Aydın has told the following on his social media account:

“- It is reminiscent of Auschwitz,
– It also seems like Abu Ghraib and Gazza,
– Can it be Guantanamo?

No, be calm, this is a garden of a gendarmerie station in Bozova, Urfa…!

– Those who were handcuffed behind are the Kurdish people who wait for the fast-breaking time.”

On the other hand, social media users called out #HalfetideNelerOluyor (What is happening in Halfeti?) regarding the torture claims.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Siirt MP Meral Danış-Beştaş has stated, “They no longer need to hide the torture. No matter where such scenes occur, no Minister of Interior could remain in office even for a minute.”

HDP İzmir MP Serpil Kemalbay has also tweeted,

“Torture is a crime against humanity. Nobody should remain silence against torture, we all should raise our voice.”

HDP Diyarbakır MP Remziye Tosun has said, “The lawyers inform that heads, arms and legs of more than 60 people detained in Halfeti and Bozova were broken, and their faces are unrecognizable. Whoever is happy with torture will be ruined in the end.”

What happened?

During an operation against the PKK, Deputy Inspector Şükrü Can Kayadibi lost his life on May 18, 2019 in Halfeti, Urfa. Two police officers, Mahmut Aykal and Ramazan Kaya, got wounded. The wounded police officers do not have a risk of death.

In the statement made by the Office of the Governor, it was stated that “During a conflict in the operation in the residential area, two terrorists have been neutralized”.

According to the news of Mezopotamya Agency, entrance to the neighborhood was banned and an operation was conducted by the soldier and the police to the house of a citizen named F.A. around 2 a.m. It was reported in the news that a hand grenade was thrown to the house, two people claimed to be the PKK members were killed, and the house was set on fire after the removal of the corpses.

According to the news based-on local sources, in a raid to the house of a citizen named Z.A. living in the same neighborhood, all members of the family have been detained.