Adle Samur, a 63-year-old Kurdish woman from the Suruç (Pirsûs) district of Urfa (Riha) in southeast Turkey, recounted her harrowing experience of detention and interrogation, including being beaten with iron rods, blindfolded, strip-searched and general physical abuse, before being sent to prison.
Samur was released on 23 September after her first court appearance. She had been detained for seven months following a military operation in her village of Karacurun on 2 March. “They [soldiers] told me to go indoors. When I did, they grabbed my leg and threw me onto the ground on my back. When I was down, they began beating my arm with an iron rod, saying they would kill me”, she said.
Samur was blindfolded and gagged, and the abuse continued. “My legs are swollen from where they beat me with the iron rod”, she said. The village headman and council members were present but did not intervene. “They didn’t question at all why this woman was being beaten or ask what she’d done wrong”, she added.
Samur was then transferred to Urfa Police Headquarters for questioning. “They interrogated me and listed some names, asking if I knew them. When I said I didn’t know any of them, they accused me of lying”, she said. She then said that she was threatened with further abuse if she remained silent, adding, “They took me downstairs. They said, ‘If you don’t talk, we’ll torture you here’.”
The abuse extended to her family as well: “They showed me a photo and asked, ‘Are these your children?’ I said yes, and they said, ‘Let’s make you a passport, we’ll give you money, go and see your daughters’.” Samur refused, fearing for her life. “I know very well that if I go to see my daughters, you’ll kill me,” she told them.
After four days of police custody, she was taken to prison. “They stripped off all my clothes when I was in custody”, she said. She was subjected to a strip search again upon entering the prison and held in a room with no clothes for an hour before being given clothes and moved to a ward.
Adle Samur and her husband, Mehmet Samur, were both subjected to abuse in custody. The couple has been targeted because of the alleged affiliation of a daughter and two of their sons with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Another son, Fadil Samur, who was caring for his parents’ farm after their arrest, reported that their home was again raided by soldiers two days before their court appearance, adding to the family’s ongoing ordeal.