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Turkey: Fear for safety, S.Ö. (full name known to Amnesty International).

, Index number: EUR 44/005/2001

Eight police officers are to go on trial on 30 January for the rape and torture of a Kurdish woman in their custody. Plainclothes police have been harassing her, and she is afraid to travel to the trial. Amnesty International is concerned at this apparent attempt by police to intimidate her, and believes she is in danger.

PUBLIC AI Index: EUR 44/005/2001
UA 19/01 Fear for safety 25 January 2001
TURKEY S.Ö. (full name known to Amnesty International), aged 32
Eight police officers are to go on trial on 30 January for the rape and torture
of a Kurdish woman in their custody. Plainclothes police have been harassing
her, and she is afraid to travel to the trial. Amnesty International is concerned
at this apparent attempt by police to intimidate her, and believes she is in
S.Ö., a mother of six, was arrested by Anti-Terror-Branch police in November
1997, at her sister-in-law’s house in Diyarbakir, eastern Turkey. There they
locked her in a room, where they beat and threatened her. They then drove her,
blindfolded, to Diyarbakir Police Headquarters, where a police officer stripped
her naked and raped her. She was later able to identify him when her blindfold
The police then forced her, still naked, inside a tyre, which they pulled up
by a rope and spun around. They then hung her by her arms and gave her electric
shocks to her genitals, her nipples and her toes. They stubbed out cigarettes
on her arms and her genitals. On the third day, they forced her into a tyre,
naked, again, and raped her several times with a truncheon, vaginally and anally.
After three days she was transferred to Izmir Police Headquarters, where she
was hung by the arms, tortured with electric shocks and threatened with rape
and murder. When she was left in a cell she attempted suicide, but was discovered
and taken to a hospital. She told a doctor and a prosecutor that she wanted
to die because she had been raped, but they did nothing. She was handed back
to the police, who threatened her, but did not torture her any more.
On 12 November 1997 a prosecutor and then a judge from Izmir State Security
Court remanded her to prison. For five months she reportedly suffered from
anal bleeding, but the prison doctor told her, “don’t tell me about the torture
you experienced.”
In prison she reported the rape to the Legal Aid Project against Rape in Custody.
The project lawyers filed a formal complaint about the rape and torture she
suffered in February 1999, reportedly corroborated by a medical report. The
Governor of Diyarbakir refused permission for the police officers to be
prosecuted, but the Diyarbakir chief prosecutor lodged an appeal against this
decision, which was accepted by a local court in February 2000. The indictment
of the eight police officers lists the different forms of torture S.Ö. suffered,
but does not mention the first rape.
S.Ö. was charged and later convicted of aiding and abetting the armed opposition
group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and remained in prison for three years
and nine months. She was recently released, and is now living with relatives
in Izmir, in western Turkey, with her children. She is afraid that she and
her relatives will face reprisals if she goes to give evidence at the trial,
at Diyarbakir Heavy Penal Court No.3. When she visited her husband in prison
in the city of Burdur, she was reportedly detained together with two of her
children for about a day. Police apparently warned her: “You are travelling
a lot. Be careful, something might happen to you. ... You seem to have filed
a complaint. But the things [you allege] did not happen”.
This is only one of hundreds of similar cases. During incommunicado detention
in police or gendarmerie custody women and men are routinely stripped naked.
Torture methods repeatedly reported to Amnesty International include
electro-shocks and beating on the genitals and women’s breasts, and sexual
abuse, including rape or rape threats. Between mid-1997 and November 2000,
133 women sought the help of a legal aid project in Istanbul for women raped
and sexually abused in custody. The alleged perpetrators are almost always
police officers, but include gendarmes, soldiers and village guards. They are
rarely brought to justice. In 1999 Amnesty International documented a general
climate of impunity for torturers.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in English or your own language:
- expressing concern that S.Ö. is being intimidated by police, shortly before
the trial of police officers accused of raping and torturing her;
- asking the authorities to ensure that she and her family are protected from
intimidation or attack;
- reminding the authorities of their duties under the UN Convention against
Torture which Turkey ratified in 1988. Articles 4 and 5 oblige States Parties
to bring alleged torturers to justice, and Article 13 requires that victims,
plaintiffs and witnesses in torture trials are protected.
Minister of Interior
Mr Saadettin Tantan
çileri Bakanl
06644 Ankara, Turkey
Telegrams: Interior Minister, Ankara, Turkey
Faxes: + 90 312 418 17 95
Salutation: Dear Minister
Minister of Justice
Prof Hikmet Sami Türk
Ministry of Justice
Adalet Bakanl
06659 Ankara, Turkey
Telegrams: Justice Minister, Ankara, Turkey
Faxes: + 90 312 417 3954 / 418 5667
Salutation: Dear Minister
Diyarbakr Acting Chief of Police
Please note that the former Chief of Police in Diyarbak
r was shot on 24/01/00
- therefore do not mention any name when sending appeals.
Diyarbakr Emniyet Müdürü
Diyarbakr Emniyet Müdürlüü
Diyarbakr, Turkey
Telegrams: Diyarbakr Emniyet Müdürü, Diyarbakr, Turkey
Salutation: Dear Chief of Police
Izmir Chief of Police:
Mr Sükrü Yetimolu
Izmir Emniyet Müdürü
Izmir, Turkey
Telegrams: Emniyet Müdürü, Izmir, Turkey
Faxes: +90 232 449 0029
State Minister with responsibility for Human Rights
Mr Rütü Kazm Yücelen
Office of the Prime Minister
06573 Ankara
Faxes: + 90 312 417 0476
and to diplomatic representatives of Turkey accredited to your country.
Please could appeal writers in EU member countries also send copies to their
Minister of Foreign Affairs.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 12 March 2001.

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