The villagers of Korgan in Şemdinli (Hakkari) were subjected to ill-treatment and torture by Turkish law enforcement officers on 31 May.

Held at gunpoint, the villagers had their head repeatedly put into the water and they were threatened and insulted. The villagers were left to die after the torture by the soldiers.

A delegation from Amed, Van and Hakkari bars went to the place and released a report.

The delegation met with 4 victims of torture, who are shepherds and one of them seriously injured. The request of the delegation for a meeting with Şemdinli Chief Public Prosecutor was rejected.

Observations:

The delegation included the following observations in the report:

Torture and ill-treatment happened in a pastureland where residents of Korgan village grazed their cattle, an area where there are no military restrictions, and was allegedly committed by 5 pubic officials, one of them high-ranking, who came from the military base in the region.

The number of victims suffering from torture and ill-treatment is not two but four.

The victims, named as Nasır TAŞ, Ramazan AKTAŞ, İsmail EREBİ and Muhsin ÇAVİŞİ, have suffered injuries to their heads as a result of battery with rifle butts. Nasır TAS suffered torture and his head was repeatedly put into water. The victims were further threatened and insulted.

It was stated that Nasır Taş was severely wounded and that he was taken to the hospital by the relatives of other victims. The soldiers told the relatives of Taş ‘we killed a terrorist, go and get him’.

The whole process of taking statements and complaints was done by a law enforcement officer, without the presence of a sworn translator, without lawyers.

Law enforcement officers that perpetrated torture and ill-treatment were identified by the victims.

The documents found in the investigation file are not submitted despite the request of the lawyers.

In the last one year, cases of such torture and ill-treatment in the region, especially Şemdinli have increased.

This is an aggravating torture crime due to the fact that the act committed is life-threatening as defined in Article 95 of the Turkish Penal Code.

Conclusions and recommendations

In the report’s conclusions and proposals, attention is drawn to the fact that no statements by witnesses have been taken during the investigation carried out by the gendarmerie. The investigation has not been conducted properly.

The delegation also stated:

For an effective and impartial investigation, given that the alleged responsible of the torture are soldiers, the case should be transferred from the gendarmerie to the Security Directorate.

Psychological support for the victims and their relatives should be provided to deal with the trauma they have suffered due to torture and ill-treatment and the necessary health care should be provided.

A proper investigation about the incident should be carried out and observers should sent to the region from the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission, Turkey’s Human Rights and Equality Authority, the Ministry of Justice Human Rights Department and the Province and District and Human Rights Violations boards.

We have seen that recently these and similar incidents are recurrent and result in heavy human rights violations.

In addition to the necessary judicial and administrative inquiries we call on the government to show a clear will to prevent such and similar incidents that will cause polarisation and division.