Refugee woman still held in same removal center where she was sexually abused

A hearing has taken place in a court case in which two security guards stand trial over charges of sexually abusing an Iranian refugee woman at the Van Removal Center. It has come out to light that the woman is still being kept at the same center.

FILE PHOTO: A protestor is seen holding a banner reading 'Do not protect, acquit, but prosecute.'

Ruşen Takva / DUVAR

An Iranian refugee woman who was sexually abused by security guards at an immigration removal/detention center in the eastern province of Van on July 22, is still being kept at the same center.

The first hearing of the sexual abuse case took place on Nov. 26. The two security guards, who are currently incarcerated at the Van Prison, testified at the court hearing via the audio and video information system (SEGBİS).

Despite the existence of DNA evidence, one of the suspects denied having sexually abused the refugee woman known by the initials Z.N. The other suspect similarly denied the allegations, claiming that the refugee was smearing him.

Meanwhile, the refugee woman Z.N. is still being kept at the Van Removal Center (“Van Geri Gönderme Merkezi” in Turkish) where she experienced the sexual abuse incident. Removal centers are under the authority of the Directorate General of Migration Management, which is affiliated with the Interior Ministry.

The court on Nov. 26 postponed the hearing to Jan. 21, 2021 and ruled for the other employers at the center to testify at the next hearing.

Van Bar Association said in a statement on Twitter that it will file an application with the court for the abused woman to be removed from the center. The bar association also said that it will file a criminal complaint against the center officials for still keeping the woman there.