Van Governor's Office defends severe torture of detainees, says it was a 'one time' thing

In its defense before the Constitutional Court, the Van Governor's Office said that reports of police torturing villagers in the Gevaş district in 2017 represent a “one-time thing.” The governor's office further tried to justify the police's action by saying villagers had sustained "mild injuries that can be remedied with a simple treatment.”

Duvar English 

In a case concerning the torture of four villagers under police custody, the Van Governor's Office said that the incident represented a "one-off" offense. 

In its defense submitted to the Constitutional Court, the governor's office claimed that four villagers were “detained in accordance with the law and other relevant legislation” and had only sustained "mild injuries that can be remedied with a simple treatment.”

After an attack on Van's Gevaş police station in June 2017, the four villagers, Abdulselam Aslan (32), Cemal Aslan (53), Halil Aslan (48), and Nejdet Beysüm (29), were detained while returning from collecting mushrooms. They were accused of being complicit in the attack, brought to the police station, and tortured. Photos were taken by police capture the extent of their injuries. 

The villagers filed a criminal complaint saying they had been tortured, but only a single police officer was investigated and later acquitted. The Court of Appeals then overturned this decision, and handed down a 3,000 Turkish lira fine to the officer for "intentional injury by exceeding the limit regarding the authority to use force.” The legal team for the defendants then applied to the Constitutional Court. 

According to reporting by Mezopotamya News Agency, the police officers were acquitted by the local prosecutor's office due to an alleged lack of evidence against them. The decision with regards to the one officer later fined was deferred by the local court. 

In its defense, the Van Governor's Office, representing the police, said that the incident did not represent torture but was rather a "one-off" mistake made by officers, resulting in mild injuries to the defendants.

“It is obvious that this behavior cannot be considered torture and ill-treatment. The allegations of the applicant do not reflect the truth,” the defense team said.

They said that the application to the top court for violation of constitutional rights had no legal basis.