Turkey: Kurdish activists tortured

Saime Avşin (Avaşin Gabar)

A video showing Turkish soldiers and state-sponsored Kurdish village guards torturing and abusing Saime Avşin (Avaşin Gabar), a female Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrilla fighter, has surfaced on social media, said on September 20.

In the video, which has caused outrage among Kurdish and progressive Turkish circles, the injured militant is dragged over rocks by her hair and sworn at repeatedly. The video surfaced on Twitter after being shared by an account belonging to village guards.

Critics have said the Turkish army is using “dirty war” tactics as part of its psychological warfare against the Kurdish population. Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul MP Filiz Kerestecioğlu condemned the video saying: "Torturing an injured woman guerrilla is a crime against humanity. Even war has laws!"

reported on September 15 that Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet has reported on a return by Turkish authorities to forms of torture widely used on political prisoners in Turkey in the 1970s and ’80s.

The paper said Human Rights Association (IHD) lawyer Gülseren Yoleri reported that electrocution and hanging from different body parts are being used on prisoners in the Kurdish south-east.

“We went to Şırnak and Nusaybin with an 18 person IHD delegation,” Yoleri said. “We were told of the torture at detention centres. Those who were tortured said, ‘old forms of torture are back. It’s as if they had hidden away old torture instruments used for electrocution and hanging and brought them out [to use on us]’.”

Yoleri added: “Life has turned into torture in the [Kurdish] region. People are living among ruins. Everything has been destroyed. The sound of gunfire and work machines dominate everything. Neighbourhoods are besieged by armoured vehicles.”

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