Torture Witness: The witness, who used to be a history teacher, declared that he was detained for 9 days after the attempted coup d’État of 15 July 2016. He stated that he was called by his colleagues to come to the school because police officers were asking for him. He testified that at the school, he was battered and being forced to disclose the names of the people he had met since the police considered them to be part of a terrorist organisation. If he would give these names, he would be released.
The witness stated that the Ankara police seized their computers and cell phones and that they were not allowed to have contact with anyone. Afterwards, he and his colleagues were taken to the Ankara Police Anti-Terror Department. There, the witness testified that he was threatened with torture by men in plain clothes. He was taken to a gym, where he was handcuffed and placed against the wall. The witness declared that there were blood stains all over the wall, which for him was proof that people had been tortured there, which terrified him even more.
Afterwards, the witness stated that he was asked to disclose ten names and to acknowledge in writing that he was part of a terrorist organisation.
The witness testified to different forms of torture and ill-treatment. He stated that they sprayed cold water on him and then beat him with a stick, that they used the so-called ‘Palestinian hanging technique’ during several hours, that he heard people being tortured in other rooms, that he heard women screaming ‘please don’t rape us’, that he was threatened that if he didn’t disclose information on other people, his wife and daughter would end up the same way as the women he had heard screaming,… After this threat, the witness testified that he decided to commit suicide (which he eventually didn’t do because of his religious beliefs).
The witness declared that eventually (and finally) he was taken to a prison and he was brought before a judge. However, the policemen that tortured him were also in the room and the judge didn’t even look at him. He was sentenced to 7,5 years in prison. Pending his appeal, the witness declared that he was released under conditions. When he returned to society, the witness testified that he was completely isolated from his family and friends since he was labelled as a terrorist – this is when he decided he could no longer stay in Turkey and fled the country.