Governor dismisses investigation into 66 police officers over alleged torture

The Van Governor’s Office has refused to allow an investigation into 66 police officers over claims that they systematically tortured members of the Sahin family during a raid on their house and while they were in custody, the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya Agency (MA) reported on Sunday.

After police carried out an operation at a house in Van’s Ipekyolu district on July 14, 2018, two citizens died while three police officers were injured during a conflict between the two groups.

Eight people from the Sahin family, including two children, were detained by police following the armed confrontation and one of the injured officers died while receiving treatment at the hospital.

Detainees from the Sahin family claimed that they suffered systematic torture from police officers during the process of detention and while they were in custody.

According to a report by Mujdat Can from MA, five people from the family were arrested pending trial after the incident.

Members of the Van Bar Association and the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (OHD) have prepared a report on the family’s torture allegations.

They are saying that 16-year-old Fethullah Sahin suffered a skull fracture due to being beaten by at least 15 officers while in custody for four days.

A year after the incident, an indictment was prepared against the members of the Sahin family over charges that included membership in a terrorist organization, insulting a public officer and using force against a public officer to prevent him from performing his duty.

Following the alleged torture, lawyers of Fethullah Sahin filed a criminal complaint against 66 police officers over misuse of public duty.

Accepting the complaint, the Van Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office requested written permission from the Van Governor’s office to launch an investigation into the officers who allegedly committed the misconduct.

Rejecting the request, the Governor’s Office argued that the police officers used proportionate force and therefore there was no need for an investigation.

The office further claimed that Fethullah Sahin was not battered but he “prevented police officers from doing their public duty.”

Lawyers for the Sahin family then applied to Erzurum Court of Appeals.

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