PUBLIC AI Index: EUR 44/082/2001
12 November 2001
Further information on UA 19/01 (EUR 44/005/2001, 25 January 2001) - Fear for
safety and new concern: arbitrary detention of children
TURKEY S.Ö. (Full name known to Amnesty International) (f), aged 32
New names: her six children
Eight police officers from Diyarbakr are now on trial, charged with torturing
the Kurdish woman S.Ö. Police have threatened her repeatedly to make her withdraw
her complaint, and in the past few weeks they have detained several of her
children and beaten some of them. All are in grave danger.
S.Ö. was arrested and reportedly raped and otherwise tortured at Diyarbakr
Police Headquarters in southeastern Turkey. She filed a formal complaint, and
eight police officers went on trial in January 2001 at Diyarbakr Heavy Penalty
Court, charged with torturing, but not raping, S.Ö. Because she was afraid
to travel to Diyarbakr, on 2 April S.Ö. was allowed to give her statement
regarding the torture to a court in Istanbul, where she was then living
temporarily and where her lawyers are based.
Police officers are reportedly coming to S.Ö.’s house in Izmir and threaten
her almost every week, and she is being followed on the streets. She has filed
a formal complaint and asked for those responsible to be arrested.
Police reportedly detained and beat her 17-year old son F.Ö. a few months ago.
They released him after three days when a member of the Parliamentary Human
Rights Commission and the Minister of the Interior intervened. In the second
week of October they arrested her 12-year-old son C.Ö. at his elementary school,
accusing him of theft. They beat him as they took him to a police station,
and detained him again for three hours the following day.
A week later S.Ö. was called to Narldere Police Headquarters and asked to
withdraw her complaint. When she refused, saying that those responsible should
be brought to justice, a plainclothes police officer reportedly made indirect
threats against her life and said “We hope nothing will happen to you”.
On 22 October her 15-year old daughter B.Ö. was reportedly abducted by
plainclothes people in a white car, who gagged and blindfolded her, took her
to a hill near the city center and beat her. They apparently threatened to
rape her and rape and kill her mother. After an hour they threw her out of
the car. When S.Ö. and B.Ö. went to the local police station they were held
there until 5am the following morning. The police asked how they knew that
the people who abducted B.Ö. were police officers, and reportedly suggested
that C.Ö. withdraw his statement about a police officer who beat him.
After her arrest in November 1997, S.Ö. had been imprisoned until 24 August
2000, convicted of aiding and abetting the armed opposition group Kurdistan
Workers’ Party (PKK). Since her release from prison, she has been living in
western Turkey, in Izmir and temporarily in Istanbul. Her husband has been
in prison for six years.
Rape and sexual assault by members of the security forces are regularly reported
to Amnesty International. Both men and women are routinely stripped naked while
detained incommunicado by the police or gendarmerie. Methods of sexual abuse
reported include electric shocks and beating on the genitals and women’s
breasts, and rape. By October this year 146 women had sought the help of a
legal aid project in Istanbul for women who had been sexually tortured by the
security forces. The suspected perpetrators were overwhelmingly police
officers, although allegations were also made against gendarmes, soldiers,
and village guards. The perpetrators are rarely brought to justice. If trials