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The delegation comprising representatives of Diyarbakır Bar Association, the Diyarbakır branch of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV), Diyarbakır Chamber of Physicians, Rights Initiative and the Diyarbakır branch of Human Rights Association (İHD) have issued a statement to the press yesterday (August 10) as regards to the raid carried out in Hakkari-Şemdinli's Şapatan (Altınsu) village.
Having highlighted that images of the tortured villagers were reported by the media, the delegation commented on the statement issued by Hakkari Governorship, which read: "The allegations that our security forces had tortured our citizens are completely unfounded and aim at propagating for the terrorist organization," with the following remarks: "This statement demonstrates that the authorized body does already have a definitive opinion and judgement on the incident before an investigation has been launched."
What happened in the village
In the statement made to the press, the delegation narrated the events in the village as follows:
"In the aftermath of the clash that broke out on 05.08.2017 in Hakkari-Şemdinli between the PKK members and the security forces, one police officer lost his life and another got injured.
After the incident, 36 residents between the ages of 17 - 30 from Altınsu (Şapatan) Village, where the clash had taken place, were withheld and later on, 15 individuals were released on 06.08.2017.
On different parts of the bodies of the released-15, traces of severe torture have been observed as also seen in the images and footage covered by the press and the social media.
As regards to the withheld-21, no news could be obtained by the next-of-kin, and the law enforcers have refrained from imparting information with them as regards to where they were being held and what has happened to them.
Concerning those withheld following the armed clash, no judicial organ has issued a procedure-compliant detention warrant on 06.08.2017.
As of 08.08.2017, the withheld-21 have also been released."
"It is understood that they had been tortured"
"The images and footage reported on the media demonstrates that 36 citizens had been subjected to torture and maltreatment.
Furthermore, the detentions carried out lack compliance with the procedures, and they point to the presence of unlawful arbitrary detentions."
International conventions and the Constitution
The delegation recalled the torture-banning provisions enshrined in those international conventions binding Turkey as well as in the Constitution, and stated the following:
"As known, constitutional article 17 of the Republic of Turkey, article 3 of the ECHR, and the 'Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment' ratified by the UN General Assembly in 1984' prohibit torture in absolute terms.
Constitutional article 17, and the international conventions have brought on the signatory State, hence on the State of the Republic of Turkey, negative obligations for combatting torture, inhumane and degrading treatment."
"Governorate labels the allegations as 'propaganda for the Organization'"
"There is no pending investigation launched, ex officio, by the Office of the Chief Prosecutor in Şemdinli in order to look into the allegations of torture and maltreatment.
According to the information, based on the written statement issued by Hakkari Governorate on 08.08.2017, 10 citizens have filed criminal complains with torture claims.
It is a legally irrevocable responsibility of the Hakkari Governorate and the Office of the Chief Prosecutor in Şemdinli to conduct effective judicial and administrative investigations, and to cast a light on the said claims, to identify the perpetrators and to subject them to judicial and administrative sanctions.
The written statement by Hakkari Governorate renders a pre-judgement with the remarks: 'The allegations that our security forces had tortured our citizens are completely unfounded and aim at propagating for the terrorist organization'.
Such a statement by the Office of the Governor, which is responsible for investigating allegations, is unacceptable in a state governed by the rule of law.
This statement not only demonstrates that the authorized body does already have a definitive opinion and judgement on the incident before an investigation has been launched but it also means the labelling citizens, who use their freedoms to seek their rights before the authorized bodies as criminals, and it must be deemed as an obstacle before the freedom to seek one's right. (EKN/DG/TK)
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