As part of a military campaign in south-eastern Turkey, the Turkish government imposed a curfew on Cizre (Cizîr), a predominantly Kurdish town in Şırnak (Şirnex), between 14 December 2015 and 2 March 2016.
Over 200 people were reportedly killed during the curfew whilst thousands of homes were destroyed.
In 2016, immediately after the deadly curfews ended in Cizre, a young Kurd named İslam İverendi was arrested on charges of “disrupting the unity and integrity of the state.” He is currently imprisoned in Akçadağ T-Type Prison in Malatya (Meletî).
Rüzgar İverendi, İslam’s elder brother, told Mesopotamia News Agency (MA) that his brother had been questionably arrested, based upon statements by ‘anonymous witnesses,’ who later rejected the basis of their own statements.
“There were anonymous witnesses giving testimonies against İslam, but later on, they rejected their own testimonies, saying they did not actually know him. Other ‘witnesses’ also stated that their statements had been taken under duress. Yet, despite all this information, my brother is still being imprisoned.”
Although Islam has a medical report saying he is at a 70% disability rating that deems him unfit to remain in prison, he has not been released.
Rüzgar noted that in 2015, İslam had a liver transplant. Ever since, he has been surviving on 16 pills a day and requires routine medical checks.
“My brother is trying to hold on to life. He is coping with liver ulcers, he has recurring diarrhoea. Due to severe pains, he is not able to lie down. In short, my brother has serious health problems,” he said.
“Despite having a medical report that says he is at a 70% disability rate, there is no progress with his case file and neither is he being released by the court, pending trial. He is just being kept, detained, to be subjected to further torture.”
İslam does not only have to cope with health issues but also with serious abuses that amount to physical and psychological torture, including strip searches.
“Added on top of all these health issues, he is being subjected to special torture practices by the guards and prison administration,” Rüzgar said. İslam faces constant threats, he noted: “One day, again when he rang the bell of the guardians to collect his medication, the guardians came and said, ‘Why do you ring the bell? If you disturb us again like this, I will break your fingers and leg.’ This is how they threatened my brother. It is 2021 and in this era, my brother was also subjected to a strip search.”
Every time his family speaks to him by phone, his brother says İslam says: “I am being targeted, I am being constantly provoked by non-stop verbal and physical assaults.”
İslam told his brother that since they keep being subjected to strip searches and all kinds of humiliating practices when they are taken to hospital, he and his fellow inmates have now stopped going to hospital until such ill-treatment ends.
İslam has a swelled ankle now, due to an injury sustained in his cell, but he cannot get it treated because, he says, rather than being humiliated the way they keep being humiliated, he prefers to stay injured, but where, at least, he can keep his dignitiy intact.
Seeing his brother losing weight and getting more ill each time he visits him, Rüzgar is extremely worried about his well-being. “I call on humanity,” Rüzgar said. “We demand that everyone who calls themselves a human monitor this case file and raise their voice against his unlawful detention.”