Young Turkish man dies under detention at gendarmerie station after 'looting' accusations

Ahmet Güreşçi, who was taken into custody for allegedly being a "looter" in the earthquake-hit Hatay province, has died at the gendarmerie station. Güreşçi had a broken nose and suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage, according to his autopsy report.

Can Bursalı / Gazete Duvar

Ahmet Güreşçi, who was taken into custody for allegedly being a "looter" in Hatay with his brother, has lost his life while under detention.

The initial examination carried out at Altınözü State Hospital has revealed that Ahmet Güreşçi had bruises on various parts of his body, his nose was broken, and had bleeding in his brain. 

On the other hand, his brother Sabri Güreşçi had severe bruises on his ribs, hands, and feet.

In the southern Hatay province, one of the ten provinces severely affected by last week's major earthquakes, some people got detained by the gendarmerie on "looting" accusations on Feb. 11. Among those detained were also Ahmet and Sabri Güreşçi brothers.  

Güreşçi's body was sent to the Forensic Medicine Institute to determine the exact cause of death. Despite the strong evidence that the young man was subject to battering while under detention at the gendarmerie station, official records claimed that "citizens battered him during looting."

The official records further claimed that Güreşçi "resisted the gendarmerie when he was caught and he hit his head to the wall as he was being taken to the (gendarmerie) station." 

Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD) released a statement on its Twitter account about the two brothers. Sabri Güreşçi is still under custody.

The association said that ÇHD lawyers who are following up the incident were also threatened by the authorities via the remarks of “The same thing can happen to you.”

Meanwhile, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu filed a parliamentary question asking about Güreşçi's death.

In his parliamentary question addressing Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, Gergerlioğlu asked whether it is true that the brothers have been subjected to torture by the gendarmerie.

He also inquired about the reported threats against ÇHD lawyers and asked: "Is the allegation that the lawyers dealing with the issue were threatened by the remarks of 'You will end up like these?' true?"

Turkey's southeastern region was struck by two powerful earthquakes last week. Since then, videos have emerged showing the battering of people alleged to be "looters." 

Justice Minister Bozdağ on Feb. 12 said that 64 suspects were detained in 75 separate “looting” incidents, and 57 people were arrested.

(English version by Can Bodrumlu)