During a raid at her house on 1 December, Turkish police officers forced Berivan Kutlu, the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP’s) former Co-Mayor of Cizre municipality in Şırnak (Şirnex), to lie face down and stood on her back when she refused to kneel before them.
A trustee was appointed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to replace Kutlu in her position as elected Co-Mayor of Cizre municipality. Kutlu had been previously detained on 9 November, along with other HDP politicians, and had been released after four days in custody. She had been subjected to violence and threatened by Turkish law enforcement officers during her time in custody.
During the raid on 1 December, Kutlu was subjected to police violence once again and was was kept waiting, handcuffed behind her back, for eight hours, according to a Jinnews report.
“The police raided my home around 5 am. When they knocked on the door, I told them I was going to open it. However, they broke the door down to enter the house. Nearly ten Special Operations Unit officers rushed in and gave me the order to kneel. When I said ‘no’, they forced me to lie face down and stepped on my back. They started to kick me on the ground. This violence continued for three hours”, she noted.
Kutlu added: “I was handcuffed behind my back and kept waiting like that for eight hours. They harrassed us continuously, yet they accused us later on of attacking them with a chair. How could I attack them when my hands were handcuffed that way? It is true that I did not remain silent. ‘You are the police of the AKP and this is a political operation’, I yelled at them. ‘Yes, we are the police of the AKP and we will throw you in their cells’, they responded”.
Kutlu has been detained eighteen times and served three prison sentences for her political activities over the years. Yet, despite this, she notes: “I have always continued my work and struggled despite all the insults, pressures and obstacles placed before me. They want to break women’s will in the struggle. This last raid was inhumane. But let them know that I will never give up the women’s struggle and I will not kneel down”.