Journalists from the pro-Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem, the pro-Kurdish DİHA news agency and broadcaster IMC TV released yesterday alleged that police beat and mistreated them in custody, Özgür Gündem reported on its website, which continues to publish despite a court order temporarily closing the newspaper. The journalists said they intend to file criminal complaints regarding their treatment.
“They beat all of us while our hands were bound behind our backs. One of the policemen tried to take the contact lens from my eye out. I was hit with the butt of a gun,” Özgür Gündem’s Sinan Balık told his employer.
“I was subjected to beatings and insults for 36 hours before I was put to the holding cell,” DİHA reporter Ender Öndeş said.
“They beat me in the face with their knees because my head was down,” Fırat Yeşilçınar of Özgür Gündem said.
“They threw me down the stairs with my hands cuffed behind my back,” Burcu Özkara, another of the newspaper’s reports, said. “I was kept in the police vehicle for seven hours. They told us, ‘You will see the power of the state and the Turk.'”
“I was pushed down the stairs from the second floor,” said Elif Aydoğmuş, also from Özgür Gündem. “A few of the police hit me. I lost consciousness due to the blows.”
Özgür Gündem reported that some of the journalists had asked the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (THİV) to help them get medical reports to corroborate their stories. Aslı Erdoğan, a columnist and member of the newspaper’s publishing board detained from her house after the August 16 raid of the newspaper’s office, was taken to a hospital yesterday for examination, brought back to police custody, and then to an Istanbul court today to answer prosecutors’ questions, according to Özgür Gündem.
Editor-in-Chief Bilir Kaya and news editor İnan Kızılkaya are still in custody, according to the news agency ETHA.