A father who claims his 11-year old daughter was killed in a hit and run accident involving relatives of a member of Turkey’s ruling party has been detained for a second time, the Sozcu daily reported on Thursday.
Saban Vatan’s daughter, Rabia Naz Vatan, was found dead in front of her house in Eynesil, a town in the northern Turkish province of Giresun, in April 2018.
While Turkish police immediately declared her death a suicide, her father believes she was killed in a hit and run and has argued that crucial evidence related to his daughter has been overlooked.
Vatan claims, based on his own investigations, that the car was being driven by relatives of then Eynesil mayor from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and therefore, the accident was covered up by authorities including Turkey’s then-deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli.
The father’s first detention took place in March when he was taken to a psychiatric clinic over what were claimed to be suspected mental health issues.
His second detention on Thursday came a day after journalists Canan Coskun, Kazim Kizil, and Tuba Demir, who have been in Giresun for some time to report on the activities of the Parliamentary Commission investigating the case, were also taken into custody.
According to Sozcu’s report, the father and the three journalists were released under judicial supervision.
Meanwhile, police officers raided the house of Saban Vatan after his wife Atika Vatan released a video on social media where she talked about her husband’s detention for a second time.
She said: “My husband was detained again this morning. Because they’re trying to silence him every time he comes close to revealing new details [about Rabia’s death]. … I’m trying to make my voice heard [through the video]. Where’s my government?”
The video was posted on Twitter by Metin Cihan, a freelance journalist who first exposed the details contradicting the official narrative in the death of Rabia and had to leave Turkey in September after an investigation was launched into him.
Rabia Naz'ın annesi Atika Vatan video gönderdi. "Eşim bir adım ileri gidip bir şeyleri ortaya çıkardığı zaman direkt susturmaya çalışıyorlar. Kucağımda 40 günlük bebeğimle eşimin adaletini burdan sağlamaya çalışıyorum. Sesimi herkese duyurmaya çalışıyorum. Benim devletim nerede?" pic.twitter.com/kM39vXhUXd
— metin cihan (@metcihan) November 14, 2019
Atika Vatan also spoke after the police raid and underlined that the officers conducted “a very detailed search” in her house.
The Giresun Governor’s Office said in a written statement on Thursday that the detentions were carried out over a complaint filed against Vatan and the journalists by Mursel Kucukal, a witness in the case of Rabia’s death, who claimed they threatened and intimidated him.