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“Police keep jobs despite torturing and raping people” – AK Party MP slams court rulings

Mustafa Yeneroglu, Istanbul’s deputy for the ruling AK Party has lashed out at two court decisions that favor Turkish police officers in cases of torture and rape from his Twitter account, on Sunday.

“There are police officers in my country who keep their jobs without receiving any punishment even after torturing people. There shouldn’t be!” Yeneroglu said on Twitter.

He was referring to a torture incident in the Gevas district in the eastern province of Van.: On June 9, 2017, four villagers were tortured in police custody following their detention on suspicion of involvement in a mortar attack on the Gevas District Police Department in Van.

Pro-government journalist Fatih Tezcan posted photos of villagers beaten up with bleeding faces on his Twitter account a few hours after the incident and accused them of being members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The men were proven to be innocent later on and the Gevas Court of First Instance ordered their release on June 14, 2017.

On June 21, 2017, the villagers filed a formal complaint against the Gevas police claiming they had been tortured by the police for “admitting their crimes.”

Although the tortured men identified seven police officers from video recordings taken by hundreds of cameras at the police station, the prosecutor took the case against only one police officer to court.

Despite an official expert opinion report that backed the villagers’ torture allegations, the court acquitted the police officer after a delay of almost two years.

The ruling was based on the argument that the faces of suspects and victims could not be clearly identified due to low-quality recordings and low ambient lighting in the police station where the torture and ill-treatment allegedly occurred.

“Despite an evident torture incident with evidence backing it up, there are prosecutors and judges in my country who disregard that torture and not do their part. There shouldn’t be!” Yeneroglu said.

In another tweet, he mentioned a case of sexual assault, where five police officers detained a Uzbekistani national in Istanbul’s Fatih district for four hours after she failed to show her ID and raped her in a car. The officers also stole 1,400 TL from the woman.

Only one police officer was sentenced to 24 years and two months of prison time in the case on charges that include sexual assault. While one of the officers was acquitted, the remaining three officers received a suspended sentence of seven months and 15 days in jail.

“There are police officers in my country who witness a woman being raped, remain silent about it and keep their jobs!” Yeneroglu tweeted, referring to the incident.

AKP deputy previously condemned an attack targeting main opposition secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu during a fallen soldier’s funeral in Ankara’s Cubuk district last week.

One of the perpetrators of the attack, which is described as a lynching attempt by the opposition, turned out to be an AKP member.

“I’m sorry and angry. I wish you a speedy recovery. I’m not surprised to see violent discourse turning into physical violence in the street. Everyone is responsible for this, notably us, the politicians,” he tweeted over the attack, addressing Kilicdaroglu.

Yeneroglu also paid a visit to deputy speaker of parliament Levent Gok from the CHP, who was also punched by a mob during the funeral, along with the CHP leader.

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