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Zonguldak police tortured purge victim in forest after detaining him in raid

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Police officers from the Zonguldak Police Department detained A.T. in a raid on his house last August over links to the faith-based Gülen movement and took him to a forest where he was severely tortured.

According to a story on the Aktif Haber website, A.T.’s torture and maltreatment in prison were recently revealed by his family and lawyer.

A.T. told his family he was taken to a forest near Zonguldak after the police raid on his house in August and that he was beaten badly by police officers who threatened his wife and daughter with sexual abuse if he failed to sign a pre-arranged testimony.

Ordered by former Zonguldak Police Chief Osman Ak, police teams from the Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Unit (KOM) and the Department of Counterterrorism (TEM) were present when A.T. was illegally taken to the forest and tortured.

It was around 10 p.m. when I was taken to a forest. I was handcuffed. Three police officers out of five started to beat me. Due to pain in my head and back, I fainted several times. They harassed me with a nightstick. They abused me and my family. I heard one police officer’s name was Necdet and another’s Battal,” he said.

Police officers also told A.T. that they would kill him and throw in a cave in the forest where wild animals would eat him and nobody would find him.

A.T. was put into police custody at the Zonguldak Police Department where the torture and maltreatment continued for 28 days. He lost weight since he was not allowed to have medication for high blood pressure. He had also undergone spinal surgery.

The torture that humiliated me continued at the [Zonguldak] police department. I was not given water. I was not allowed to take a shower for 28 days. I was not allowed to go to the toilet. Only a stale bagel and two spoons of canned beans were given to me to eat. They hit me in the back despite being informed about my spinal surgery,” he said.

Underlining that he was subjected to sexual harassment during his detention and as a prisoner, A.T. said he was detained as part of an operation carried out by Zonguldak Chief Public Prosecutor Hüsnü Hakan Yağız and that the torture continued even after Zonguldak Police Chief Ak was replaced by Ahmet Metin Turanlı.

According to Turkeypurge.com, Police Chief Ak initially came to public attention when he was dismissed in the late 1990s after he was accused of engaging in spying and illegal wiretapping of at least 963 high-ranking state officials, including the country’s prime minister and president.

Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the Gülen movement, and the movement having denied the Turkish government’s and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s accusation of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Over 135,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 82,000 detained and more than 41,000 have been arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include teachers, journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian. Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were drawn up prior to the coup attempt.

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