On 9 December 2021, Kurdish political prisoner Garibe Gezer (28) lost her life in suspicious circumstances after being systematically tortured and sexually assaulted by prison officers in a cell in Kandıra F-Type High Security Prison No. 1.
Gezer’s suspicious death caused public outrage in Turkey, and human rights activists hold state officials responsible. Meanwhile, the government announced that she had taken her own life in prison, without a proper investigation being conducted.
Garibe was not the first person in her family to die under state oppression. Her mother Halima Gezer spoke to MA about their story, which reveals the attitude of the state when Kurds resist oppression and assimilation in Turkey.
Halima Gezer is the mother of 11 children. Her son Bilal was murdered in the street on 7 October 2014, during the Kobanê protests. Another son, Mehmet Seyid Emin went to Dargeçit Police Station on the same day to ask about the perpetrators of his brother’s murder, but he was seriously injured by gunfire from special operations police outside the police station, and was paralysed as a result. A third son, Haşim, has been behind bars for five years as a political prisoner.
“They arrested Garibe. They also arrested Hashim. When Seyid Emin went to ask about [the death of] his brother, they fired 106 bullets into him, and now he’s paralysed. They do not care about law or justice, they left me broken. They also arrested Haşim and took him to Elazığ Prison,” says mother Halima in sorrow and continues:
“Garibe was detained at 7-8 different prisons in Turkey. They transferred her from one prison to another, they didn’t let her [stay in one prison], they didn’t leave her alone. They also arrested Haşim, Garibe’s brother, and sent him to Elazığ prison. They sentenced him to 22 years. He has six children.”
She repeatedly says that her daughter died because she resisted oppression in prison.
“They killed my daughter there. She was kept alone in a padded cell. They did not conduct a proper investigation into her death. Nor did they allow lawyers or MPs to review her case. The prison officers [administration], did not allow it. Because they know they’re guilty. They killed my daughter.”
She calls for support from activists, MPs and lawyers.
“I want lawyers and MPs to pursue my daughter’s case, and I want the perpetrators to be punished. Why did they kill my daughter, how did they kill her? I call on everyone, lawyers and MPs to pursue the case and not to allow it to be forgotten, because my daughter resisted and she didn’t bow down on her knees. They couldn’t tolerate that, so they killed my daughter.”
“My daughter was killed by the Turkish state. I’m a complainant against the Turkish state and the prison.”