Rape, Humiliation in Turkey's Purge: Alleged Torture Victim Speaks Out

Published August 9th, 2017 - 03:10 GMT
An alleged victim of torture has spoken out about his supposed abuse at the hands of the Turkish authorities in an unverified video shared widely online (Twitter)
An alleged victim of torture has spoken out about his supposed abuse at the hands of the Turkish authorities in an unverified video shared widely online (Twitter)

An alleged victim of torture has spoken out about his supposed abuse at the hands of the Turkish authorities in an unverified video shared widely online.

The 15-minute clip, released Saturday, sees the former detainee identifying the location in Turkey’s capital where he claims the torture took place, and detailing the apparent abuses.

The unidentified man, whose face is not shown says in the interview, is one of over 50,000 people arrested in a widespread government crackdown since a failed coup in July 2016.

In the footage, the man points to an aerial image on a computer screen, which he alleges is the location in Ankara of a detention center run by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization.

“When I was first detained, most of the detainees who were there were staff officers but slowly civilians took their places. Engineers, doctors, teachers,” he says in the interview, according to a translation provided by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF). 

 

SCF is a Sweden-based organization made up of exiled Turkish journalists reporting on rights abuses in Turkey.

 

The former detainee describes how he was questioned on 11 occasions, without a lawyer present, adding that torture was used as an interrogation method.

“Those who did not speak the way the officials wanted were taken to the third floor and exposed to torture,” he says.

“They stripped us naked and tied us to chairs, sprayed pressurized water. They constantly washed us from head to toe with ice cold water”.

The interviewee also indicates that that rape was used as a method of torture at the facility.

“Speaking was forbidden. I asked a man who was heavily crying in the bathroom line: ‘What happened?’ He replied: ‘They raped me with a baton.’”

The anonymous speaker also details harsh living conditions for detainees at the facility.

“Hundreds of people were remanded in custody for weeks. They forced us to sleep on only our right-side constantly.”

“There was only one toilet and two bathrooms for 160 people. We could only have water for two hours to shower. So we have to wait for days to take shower.”

According to SCF, the alleged torture victim is interviewed in the footage by exiled journalist Cevheri Güven.  

Güven was an editor of Nokta weekly news magazine, forced to close in July 2016 over accusations of links to Fethullah Gülen, whom Turkey claims was behind the failed coup.

Convicted in absentia of “inciting an armed uprising against the Turkish government,” Güven faces a sentence of 22 years and six months in prison should he return. Murat Çapan, the magazine’s editor-in-chief is currently serving the same sentence.

While it is not possible to verify the video or the allegations detailed within it, widespread torture of Turkey’s coup suspects has been well documented.

In June 2017, SCF produced a report claiming that “torture, abuse and ill treatment of detainees and prisoners in Turkey has become the norm rather than the exception under the repressive regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.”

The report indicated that SCF “has received numerous and credible reports of torture and abuse at the hands of Turkish officials who work for the security and intelligence branches of the government.”

In November 2016, the BBC also reported it had received “credible testimony” of the use of torture, including brutal physical and sexual abuse of prisoners, during the post-coup purge.


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