Visually impaired Kurdish man Hasan Yalçın is facing terrorism charges after his 14-year-old daughter was forced to sign a statement by Turkish police, alleging that her father “constantly reads books from the terrorist organisation”, Mezopotamya Agency reported.
Yalçın was first detained in August 2020, and was released after signing a statement with his fingerprint because he could not sign his name as a disabled person who could not read. The statement he signed was not read out loud to him, and a lawyer was not present at the time. A court in Batman ordered house arrest for the man on charges of aiding and abetting and propaganda.
A year later, in September 2021, 35 others were detained based on the testimony Yalçın does not know the content of.
An indictment prepared by the public prosecutor’s office was accepted by a court in the province, and Yalçın’s first hearing will be held on Thursday, 30 March.
In the indictment the prosecutor cited banners in traditional Kurdish colours of red, yellow and green, newspapers, journals, and photos of Abdullah Öcalan and Sakine Cansız. Daughter S.Y.’s statement that Yalçın was “constantly reading” books by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was also featured prominently in the indictment.
The teenager’s statement was taken in police custody, without a lawyer or pedagogical expert present. In the statement, S.Y. had reportedly given highly detailed descriptions of persons, including variations in their hair colours.
“They tricked my little girl to testify against me,” Yalçın told reporters. “They then took away my daughter to foster care, only returning her after it was apparent that they were wrong.”