Hacı Bişkin/ DUVAR 

Pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party mayor İrfan Sarı of the district of Yüksekova in Turkey’s eastern province of Hakkari was stripped from office by the government earlier this year and subsequently arrested. His wife Aynur Sarı said her husband was brought far away to a prison in the province of Elazığ, several hours to the west, while his son Ozan Sarı said his father had been very ill, was given a thin blanket in his solitary confinement cell, and was unable to receive his medications. 

HDP co-mayors Sarı and Remziye Yaşar, who were elected to office in the mayoral elections earlier this year in a record vote count, were arrested on October 15 and sent to a prison in Hakkari’s neighboring province of Van. A week ago, they were transferred to a prison in Elazığ, which is located 650 kilometers to the west. 

Sarı’s son Ozan claims his father was intentionally brought to a facility far away from where his family lives.

“When my father was taken into custody he didn’t even have a full outfit on. We were only able to get him an outfit by making a request. He was handcuffed behind his back and taken from our house in front of my eyes. He was kept with his hands handcuffed behind his back for hours while in custody,” Ozan Sarı said, adding that the distance between himself, his mother and his jailed father makes it difficult to visit due to the winter conditions in the mountainous Hakkari province, coupled with different illnesses that he and his mother are currently battling. 

“If he looks around, shoot him in the head”

Aynur Sarı said that she was still not able to recover from the shock of the moment that her husband was arrested.

“A month and a half ago, tens of police tried to open our door by breaking it. We opened the door right away after we said we were going to get dressed and then open it. I told them that they could not enter our home without wearing shoe covers but they did not listen. They immediately made my husband and my son lie on the ground. When Irfan was on the ground he was looking around. A masked police officer shouted at him, telling him not to look around. Another police then said ‘if he looks around, shoot him in the head’,” Aynur Sarı said. 

HDP deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu submitted several questions to Vice President Fuat Oktay regarding Sarı’s arrest, concerning the conditions in which he is imprisoned, whether it was true that he was not receiving the medications that he previously was taking on a regular basis, and why he was sent to a prison far away given the fact that it is difficult for his family to visit him in light of their respective health problems.