REPORT ON THE ALLEGATIONS OF TORTURE AT THE FINANCIAL CRIMES INVESTIGATION BUREAU OF THE ANKARA PROVINCIAL GENERAL DIRECTORATE OF SECURITY
UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION by Human Rights Activists
LAWYER’S RIGHTS CENTER, PRISON BOARD AND HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER
Subject: This hereby is a report on the interviews and investigations conducted by the Ankara Bar Association Lawyer’s Rights Center, Prison Board and Human Rights Center regarding the allegations of torture at the Financial Crimes Investigation Bureau of the Ankara Provincial General Directorate of Security, which became public on 26 May 2019.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
On 26 May 2019, Kocaeli Deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu tweeted “There are allegations of torture in Ankara Police Headquarters”. The allegations of torture whilst under custody of the Financial Crimes Investigation Bureau of about 100 former foreign service officials dismissed with legislative decrees became well publicized following this tweet. According to these allegations, “the detainees were beaten until they passed out, forced to watch others being harassed and tortured; at least four separate accounts of torture were committed in clear violation of human dignity; the acts of torture were carried out by outsiders to the Ankara General Directorate of Security who identified themselves as members of the National Intelligence Organization (“MIT”); a diplomat was beaten until he lost consciousness, taken to the hospital but denied a report by the doctors on his physical state, the acts of torture were still ongoing and the torturers were threatening that the treatment would get even worse by time, and that the detainees were forced to sign pre-written testimonies by torture.”
Same complaints of torture and ill-treatment were made to the headquarters and the boards of the Bar Association by lawyers who provided legal assistance to the persons held in custody.
In addition to the complaints of torture, complaints were also received that the lawyers who went to see their clients held in custody were made to sign an official record on the written instructions of the prosecutor’s office that read: “…I hereby declare that I commit to obtain a Power of Attorney to represent the person I am going to meet with regards to his case and submit it to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Ankara for it to be included in the investigation file”, in violation of the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (“CMK”). (Annex-1 The Letter of Instruction by the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the sample official record that was forced upon lawyers)
In order to examine the allegations of ill-treatment and torture as well as the practice of making the lawyers commit in written form to submit a Power of Attorney from the defendant in defiance of the provisions of the CMK; the Bar Association Lawyers’ Rights Center, Prison Board and Human Rights Center have commissioned certain respective members, who then visited Ankara Provincial General Directorate of Security Financial Crimes Investigation Bureau on 27 May 2019 to conduct interviews and investigations.
Arrival at the Financial Crimes Investigation Bureau and the Unfolding of Events
Requests of Written Commitment to Submit Power of Attorney
The representatives of the Bar Association Lawyer Rights Center have immediately reached the said Bureau. As a result of the discussions regarding the instructions of the Public Prosecutor’s Office to require legal representatives to sign a written commitment to submit a Power of Attorney taken from the defendant, the said practice, which is in violation of the provisions of the CMK, was terminated by the Financial Crimes Investigation officers.
Interviews with Persons Reported to be Subjected to Ill-Treatment and Torture
Following the termination of the practice -of requiring the written commitment to submit a Power of Attorney- due to initiative of the Bar Association Lawyer’s Rights Center, a second delegation comprising of members of the Prison Board, Human Rights Center and Lawyer’s Rights Center conducted confidential interviews with the six reported individuals that were allegedly subjected to ill-treatment and torture, and the accounts of these persons were put in writing and signed in the form of an official record in the presence of the said individuals. (The names of the interviewees are kept confidential in this report.)
As a result of the interviews, which have been put into writing in the form of official records, the findings regarding allegations of ill-treatment and torture are as follows:
All of the six interviewees stated that they were taken by the perpetrators to so-called “interviews” wherein they were forced and pressured to become “confessors”, and that they were subjected to threats and insults. All six stated that they were interviewed more than once, that they were subjected to psychological pressure in these interviews and that they could identify the persons who carried out these interviews if they saw them.
Five of the six interviewees stated that they were subjected to torture and ill-treatment outside above-mentioned interviews. An interviewee stated that he was not subjected to torture or ill-treatment but learned of such allegations from fellow ward-mates once they met before a Criminal Peace Judgeship during custody extension hearings. This account is compatible with the accounts of those actually subjected to ill-treatment and torture. Moreover, there were no discrepancies observed between the names that this last interviewee reported of hearing about having been tortured and those who personally reported being subjected to ill-treatment and torture. According to the corroborating accounts of the five individuals who claimed to have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment, these persons (one person on Saturday night, one on early hours of Sunday and three on Sunday night) were taken out of their wards, brought to a section on the ground floor of the Financial Crimes Investigation Bureau (one without cuffs, four handcuffed behind the back) and taken through a narrow corridor to a dark room marked “No Entrance.” At this point, officers who brought the victims there left the room and perpetrators whose faces they could not make out due to darkness first pushed them against the wall, blindfolded them (the victim without handcuffs was first cuffed behind the back at this point), then made them kneel, dragged them around the floor for a period of time, hit them over their heads with batons and threatened to rape them with a baton whilst moving the baton around their bodies. Afterwards, three individuals state that they were stripped naked, another said he was stripped below the waistline and one till the knees. The three that were completely naked and the one stripped below the waistline (a total of four) describe they were cuffed behind the back again, brought to fetal position, batons were moved around their anal openings, all the while threatened and insulted to force them to “confess”. They were often being given one to two minutes, after which the perpetrators claimed they would “move to the next stage” and poured some sort of lubricant into their anal cavities, torturing them by moving batons around their anuses. One person stated that the perpetrators forcibly removed his trousers until his knees, but he somehow managed to pull them back again; and that he was likewise tortured by a baton being moved around his body as well as over his clothes.
Five people who stated that they had been subjected to torture and ill-treatment responded negatively to the question of whether the perpetrators of torture were officers whose faces and voices they recognized from the Financial Crimes Investigation Bureau. When asked if the perpetrators identified themselves, four stated no identification was made while one declared they claimed to be “outsiders, a professional team.”
Five people who stated that they were subjected to torture and ill-treatment stated that they had a law enforcement officer present during their daily medical examination and that they were too concerned for their safety and well-being to tell the attending physician about their ordeal. One interviewee stated that he was asked whether he was married and upon his positive answer, was threatened as such: “Listen! You won’t be able to sleep with your wife anymore [if you don’t comply]; you would wake up at nights and cry.”
One victim suffered from bruises on his knees (which was personally seen and photographed by the visiting commission) due to dragging on the floor and stated this fact at the next medical check. The physician claimed to put that into his medical report, however, the victim observed that the female officer accompanying him panicked, went on to her phone and started texting someone. The victim was then taken outside the examination room and was not shown the final report. However, after their custody extension hearings at the Criminal Peace Judgeship, the victim was taken back to the same physician and received a “no sign of battery” report, moreover, he has no knowledge of the content or outcome of the previous medical report.
Before another victim was subjected to torture and ill-treatment, he was told ‘We shove batons [into people’s anuses] here, you might have heard the stories; all of them are true!’ And following that, he was subjected to acts of torture and ill-treatment as detailed above. Another victim reporting torture and ill-treatment said that when he was returned to his ward, he could not say anything to his friends, except for “There is torture.” Thereafter he slept and when he woke up, he wanted to go to the bathroom, but he fainted on his way. Emergency healthcare personnel arrived, measured his blood pressure and just left. In the morning, he lost consciousness once again and he has been unable to sleep for the last 48 hours.
Yet another victim who spoke of being subjected to torture and ill-treatment conveyed that when he was brought to the Criminal Peace Judgeship for a custody extension hearing, he told the judge that he had been subjected to ill-trea…