Kurdish mother given son’s bones in a bag: I have died at that point

Seven years after his death, the bones of a Kurdish young man killed in clashes during the military curfew in Diyarbakır’s Sur have been given to his family in a bag. The 28-year-old Ali Rıza Arslan’s mother told Gazete Duvar that the moment she saw the bag, she has “died.”

This collage photo shows the killed Ali Rıza Arslan's mother and father.

Duvar English 

Turkish authorities have handed a Kurdish young man’s bones to his family in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. The incident happened at the Diyarbakır courthouse.

The 28-year-old Ali Rıza Arslan lost his life in clashes during the military curfew declared in Diyarbakır’s Sur district on Dec. 2, 2015. His bones were given to father Ali Rıza Arslan at the Diyarbakır courthouse on Aug. 29. 

Father Arslan said that when he saw the bag and bones, “the bottom fell out of my world.” In an interview with BBC Turkish, he said that he was expecting to receive his son’s remains in a coffin at the Forensic Morgue.

“We went into a room (in the courtroom) and the civil servant there gave me a box that he took out of the cabinet; it turns out my son’s bones were inside it. The staff that handed me the box was also ashamed (of the situation). There was no official there to whom I could have said, ‘This does not befit humanity,’” Arslan said.

The Diyarbakır Bar Association filed a criminal complaint with regards to the incident, saying that the bones needed to be given in a coffin in line with the regulations. The bar association said that they have sued the Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor over this action that goes against humane legal norms as well as social, cultural and belief-related values.

Father Arslan also spoke with Gazete Duvar with regards to the incident, saying: “The moment I picked up those bones, if I were made to carry Diyarbakır as a whole, I would not understand its heaviness.”

Mother Melike Arslan said that when he saw the box full of his son’s bones, she "died" at that point. “I have seen the remains in a cardboard box in my husband’s arms. When I saw that, I have died at that point. I have not been myself for the last 3-4 days. I do not know what to say,” she told Gazete Duvar.