Kurdish girls raped and sexually abused in police custody

and sexually abused in police custody over several days earlier this year, demonstrating a continuing cycle of violence against young people in Turkish police stations, Amnesty International warned today.

Around midnight on 5 March 1999, a 16-year-old girl, N.C.S.*, a high

school student was arrested in Iskenderun in the province of Hatay. Fatma Deniz Polatta¹, aged 19, was arrested on 8 March. Both were brought to the Anti-Terror Branch of Police Headquarters in Iskenderun where they were

detained and tortured for seven and five days respectively.

In detention, the two girls were blindfolded, prevented from sleeping,

going to the toilet, denied water and food, and forced to listen to loud music and drink spoiled milk. The police made them strip and stay naked, and told them to stand in exhausting positions for long periods of time..

The girls were routinely insulted and threats were made against their

parents.

N.C.S. was exposed to verbal and sexual harassment, continually beaten on her genitals, buttocks, breast, head, back and legs, forced to sit on a wet floor for a long time and roll naked in water, suspended from the arms and exposed to pressurized cold water.

A formal complaint was lodged against the police officers and subsequently in November an investigation was been opened. The two girls have been sentenced to long prison terms after being charged with membership of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and taking part in a violent demonstration against the arrest of PKK leader Abdullah ÷calan.

The two girls claim that their convictions are based on statements extracted under torture, yet they remain in prison pending the decision of the Appeal Court.

While in detention, the girls underwent several medical examinations, including virginity tests, by different doctors. None of the doctors reported signs of violence. A later report by the Turkish Medical

Association describes medical symptoms which match the girls' testimonies

of sexual torture. The Turkish Medical Association has stated that enforced gynaecological examinations are used simply to violate a woman's dignity and that they can be traumatic.

'Police officers are responsible for protecting people, not subjecting

them to torture. The Turkish Government must take serious measures to ensure that Children's rights especially are not left at the mercy of security forces and that those responsible for torture in custody are brought to justice.' Amnesty International said.

The organization is also urging Turkey to continue its law reform to bring Turkish law fully in line with international standards, in particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Turkey ratified in 1995

View latest press releases