Turkish Women Face Prosecution for Denouncing Police Abuse
Nineteen Turkish women, who last June took part in a conference on women abused by the police, face trial for "insulting and raising suspicions about Turkish security forces."
If convicted, each could receive a six-year prison term, according to a report by the Washigton Post.
Nazli Top and other speakers at the conference told their stories of how they were tortured and raped by police officers while in custody.
Top “was walking home from work nine years ago when she was stopped at a security checkpoint. She says she was taken to a police station where she was held captive for 10 days by officers who beat her, prodded her with electric shocks until her body went numb, and then raped her with a truncheon. She was 32 years old and three months pregnant,” said the report.
Last June, Top told her story at Turkey's first public conference on the abuse of women in police custody - an event women's rights advocates hailed as a milestone in a country in which sexual violence against women is frequently ignored, covered up or deemed taboo for public debate, said the paper.
"The police who did this should be standing here - not me," Top told the judge hearing her case. "I am being victimized for the second time."
"If this was a democratic country, officials would start investigations against the police instead of going after the people making the accusations," Top, a nurse in the research laboratory of a hospital in suburban Istanbul, said in an interview.
Human rights advocates were quoted by the Washington Post as complaining that Turkey's laws against insulting or belittling the government were often used to silence journalists, intellectuals, government opponents and victims of abuse by police and military forces. European Union officials evaluating Turkey's membership application have demanded it abandon or moderate such laws, said the paper.
Amnesty International, in its 2000 report, provides accounts of two young women arrested and tortured in custody.
“On separate days in early March 1999 two Kurdish young women - 16-year-old high school student N.C.S, and 19-year-old student Fatma Deniz Polattas - were arrested by police authorities and detained at the Anti-Terror Branch of police headquarters in Iskenderun, Turkey, for seven and five days respectively. The young women claim to have been tortured and forced to give false confessions while in police custody.”
“According to the young women's testimony, their torture included rape and other sexual assault. They were kept blindfolded throughout their detention. For the first two days, N.C.S. was forced to stand continuously, prevented from sleeping and from using the toilet, and denied food and drink except for sour milk. She was forced to strip and remain naked in a cold room. During the interrogation she was beaten all over her body - with blows directed especially at her head, genitals, buttocks and breasts -and forced to sit on a wet floor for long periods before being made to roll naked in water. On other occasions she was suspended from the arms and hosed with pressurized cold water. She was threatened that she would be killed and that her mother would be raped.” - Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)