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(en) Turkey, Army objector Mehmet Tarhan again faces torture! Call for URGENT ACTION!!

Date Sun, 02 Oct 2005 21:16:45 +0200

Conscientous/total objector Mehmet Tarhan*battered as
his hair was violently cut by military prison
authorities in Sivas. Mehmet has gone on indefinite
hunger strike with the demands of getting civilian
doctor examination, a report from a forensic medical
facility documenting the torture and legal action
against the perpetrators.
Mehmet Tarhan was arrested April 8, 2005, and taken
from his hotel room at 5 am to the military unit in
Tokat to be forced to do compulsory military service.
Because he refused obeying any orders given to him
(such as wearing a military uniform), he was arrested
on the charge of “insubordination before the unit,”
article 88 of Military Criminal Code. Same day, he was
locked up in Sivas military prison and was subject to
a lynching attempt by a group of prisoners encouraged
by the prison authorities. His lawyers made press
releases on May 24, 2005 and the lynch attempt was
publicized. As a result of this, Mehmet’s hair and
beard were forcefully and violently shaved by the
prison administration. Also all his rights were
revoked and he was isolated. Mehmet went on a 28 day
hunger strike in protest of the revocation of his
rights, from May 25 to June 21 when his demands were
partially met.

At the third hearing of his trial on June 9, 2005,
Mehmet was released and the trial was adjourned to
August 4, 2005. Although he was released, with the
instruction of ASAL (Head of the Department of
Military Recruitment) Mehmet was sent again to the
military unit. As Mehmet disobeyed orders there, he
was arrested again and another law suit was filed on
the charges of insubordination. At the joint hearing
of both trials on August 4, he received an
unprecedented verdict of 4 years (2 years for each
case). The lawyers applied for appeals and are waiting
for a court date. Even if the verdict changes at the
appeals court and Mehmet gets released, he could be
re-sent to the military processing office, from there
to the military unit, arrested for insubordination and
sent back to prison again. This vicious circle amounts
to a tacit life sentence.

Meanwhile prison authorities continue to harass him by
forcefully cutting his hair once every two weeks or so
and taking arbitrary disciplinary measures for not
cooperating, such as solitary confinement for
sometimes 15 days on end; revocation of his rights to
make phonecalls, to receive reading materials and
letters and see visitors during this period.

Yesterday (September 30) he was seriously battered by
7 or 8 guards under the rubric of giving him a
haircut. As a result Mehmet went on hunger strike

"At about 3 pm today, accompanied by 3-4 guardians,
the noncommissioned officer Hilmi SAVLUK told me that
my hair was to be cut. Then with 7-8 people, by force
and torture my hair and beard was cut but they were
unable to cut my moustache. Also a friend from the
ward faced a harsh intervention by the guards when he
tried to resist the way they treated me. After the
"hair cut" torture, there is pain on my face, in my
left and right hands, pain in my left arm as they have
mounted on it, pain in my left foot, injuries and
bruises on my arm and legs. I cannot turn my neck
around because of pain on my face and neck," says

Following the intervention, Mehmet went on an
indefinite hunger strike with the following demands;

- Documentation of the torture via a medical report
from forensic medicine under a civilian doctor's

- Starting legal action against the perpetrators,

- Provision of his needs during the hunger strike
(salt, sugar, drinking
water, juice, vitamin B1).

Hilmi Savluk, who replaced the previous prison warden
Mustafa Selvi after the earlier
torture/bashing/exaction events in Sivas Military
Prison, is clearly perpetuating the abuse and torture
in prison.

October 1, 2005: Latest Update

Mehmet was forcefully transferred to the military
hospital today around 02:30 pm. His wardmate Ali who
resisted Mehmet’s treatment earlier and received a
harsh response, is also subject to further violence by
prison authorities under the pretense of giving him a
haircut. Ali has also gone on a hunger strike with
similar demands as Mehmet’s.

As a response to the written petition prepared by his
lawyers Suna and Senem demanding Mehmet’s transfer to
a forensic medical facility, prison director Major
Volkan phoned the sergeant on duty in prison and
ordered Mehmet’s transferral to military prison.
Although Mehmet said that he refuses this and only
accepts a transferral to a civil hospital, they told
him this was an order and that they had to take him to
a military hospital . Mehmet repeated his demands and
declared that he will not let himself be examined
there. But two doctors, one of them in camouflage
wear, walked around him for about 10 minutes and
prepared a report stating that there are no signs of
Around 03:30 pm, he was back in prison. He said he
feels very tired and weak and that his pains are
They also want to cut Mehmet’s wardmate Ali’s hair. He
resists and they are using harsh interventions. They
take him to the cell, do violence to him, then take
him back to the ward. Having received harsh blows to
his head, Ali’s vision began blurring and his right
side was numb around 5 pm. Around 6:30 he was
transferred to the military hospital. They deemed he
was battered and sent him to the university hospital.
He fainted on the way there. At the university
hospital two doctors examined him and gave a report
stating he was battered. When he went to the
university hospital he was unconscious but he says it
was around 9:30 pm. After the examination he was
brought back to the prison. Since he had to be under
observation because of the blow he received to his
head, they stayed up all night.

Mehmet’s wardmate Ali is also on hunger strike and his
demands are as follows:
1- Public exposure of the torturers and legal action
against them
2- An end to torture aimed towards prisoners and

As of now they have vitamin B1, water, salt and sugar
from the previous hunger strike that will last them
for a couple days. But there is no juice. They tell
them they don’t have any juice at the canteen and they
don’t know when they are going to get it.

Please forward this message to friends and send
protest faxes to the numbers below, especially the
military prison, to show that Mehmet is not alone.

Sivas Military Prison
Fax: + 90 346 225 3915

Head of Chiefs of Staff:
Fax: + 90 312 425 0813

The Ministry of Defense:
Fax: + 90 312 417 6386

Office of the Head of the Republic:
Fax: + 90 312 427 1330

Office of Prime Minister:
Fax: + 90 312 417 0476


[Issued and signed by]
email: otonoma@anarsi.org
web: http://www.anarsi.org/otonoma

*[Mehmet Tarhan is an anarchist
total/conscientious objector who is
imprisoned since April 2005 related with his
rejection of military service.]
**[otonomA is an anarchist group located in Turkey]

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