In a defence statement at the Turkish Constitutional Court regarding a case involving four individuals who had been taken into custody and allegedly tortured in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority district of Gevaş in Van (Wan) in 2017, the office of the governor defended the torture, saying “only once, simple injury occurred, which could be healed by simple treatment.”
After an attack against Gevaş Police Headquarters in Van on 9 June 2017, villagers Abdüsselam Aslan, Halil Aslan, Necdet Beysüm and Cemal Aslan, who were returning from picking mushrooms, were taken into custody, and were presented in the Turkish mainstream media as ‘captured terrorists ‘.
Later, photographs of them showing injuries indicating they had been severely tortured were shared on social media. There was no evidence linking the four villagers to the attack, and they were released some time later, but their photographs in custody provoked widespread reaction.
A number of offices faced prosecution, but other than one who was lightly fined, their cases were dismissed, and appeals by lawyers eventually brought the case to the Constitutional Court.
A single officer was brought before the Constitutional Court, which requested a defence from the Governorate of Van. The governorate wrote in defence to the court:
“The applicants made a complaint and claimed that they had been subjected to torture, ill treatment and abuse by police officers during the afore-mentioned detention. The prosecution dismissed the accusations against police officers H.E, K.S., M.C., M.Ş., Ö. E., and Ö Z. for lack of concrete evidence. A judicial fine was issued for the police officer O.Ş. and the court suspended the pronouncement of the judgment. There was no torture or ill treatment as claimed in the incident referred to by the applicants, and the principle of fair trial principle was followed throughout the prosecution process (…) Only once, simple injury occurred, which could be healed by simple treatment.”