Kurdish writer assaulted, harassed, strip searched by Greek police

Kurdish writer Meral Şimşek was assaulted, harassed and strip searched by Greek police at a border crossing, rights groups reported. Facing terrorism charges in Turkey, Şimşek attempted to cross into Greece on June 29, but was beaten and strip-searched by the Greek police.

Meral Şimşek is seen signing a book in this file photo.

Ferhat Yaşar / DUVAR

Kurdish writer Meral Şimşek was tortured by the Greek border police when she attempted to cross from Turkey to Greece on June 29, rights groups said.

Facing charges of “making terrorist propaganda” and “being a member of a terrorist group” in Turkey, Şimşek attempted to cross to Greece on June 29 and was detained at the border. 

Afterwards, the writer was beaten and strip-searched by the Greek border police.

The police further seized Şimşek's mobile photo, computer and money, and about 24 hours later, threw her into the Meriç (Evros) River. The Kurdish writer was accompanied by a Syrian woman named Dicle Muhammed during her journey, who was trying to go to Germany to be united with her fiancee.

A member of Kurdish PEN, Şimşek recalled what she went through as follows: "The women [Greek] police strip-searched me and Dicle in the middle of the road, in front of everyone [all police officers.] They even looked through our vaginas...I told them, 'Do not do this, this is a rights violation, a lawsuit would be launched against you.' In response, they started to beat me with rifle butts.”

After thrown into a boat by the Greek border police, Şimşek and Dicle made it to the İpsala border checkpoint, where they surrendered to Turkish soldiers.

Şimşek was placed at the Edirne Prison, whereas Dicle was sent to a refugee camp.

At the Edirne Prison, Şimşek was once again stripped searched, where she was imprisoned for seven days. Afterwards, she was released pending trial, under judiciary control and a ban on international travel.

Şimşek demanded that Greek authorities determine the name of police officers who tortured her and initiate the relevant procedures.

“I remember their faces very clearly. We have filled in the documents to make an application to international criminal courts and the United Nations. We will not give up on this. So many people must have gone through similar things, if not worse,” she said.

“The Greek side confiscates everyone's mobile, mobile, electronic devices, identity cards and passports before they throw people into the Turkish side. I will also file a criminal complaint with regards to the extortion. Nothing that has been taken from us has been given,” she said.