Ayten Öztürk, who has 898 marks on her body, was not brought to her court hearing!
Ayten Öztürk was arrested in Lebanon, and then handed over to Turkey, she was then tortured for 6 months and no news was heard from her during this time. Due to the torture she has 898 marks on her body. She was then jailed in Turkey and is currently in prison.
Öztürk, whose court hearing was going to take place today, was not brought to the court due to a “security issue”.
Ayten Öztürk was arrested at Lebanon Airport on March 8th and was handed over to Turkey on March 13th, she had not been heard from for 6 months after being handed over. The People’s Law Office stated that Ayten Öztürk was held in the hands of the Counter-Guerilla between 13 March and 28 August, and that she was tortured for months because of her refusal to cooperate, and that on the night of 28 August their client was taken from this place where she was held and after a 1 hour 30 minute journey, she was left in an empty field. After half an hour, the Political Police branch of Ankara arrived to this field and arrested her. Neither the judge nor the prosecutor listened to the statements of Ayten that she was tortured, the statements of her lawyers were not recorded either.
The first hearing of the case, which is being followed closely by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and the Ankara Bar Human Rights Association, was held today at the 16th High Criminal Court in Ankara Courthouse with a 3 lawyer limitation given by the delegation.
The case was started with lawyer Murat Yılmaz;
“First of all, let’s note this. Although the city of Ankara has nothing to do with my client, the hearing is seen here. The file belongs to the Istanbul 3rd High Criminal Court, but with a sudden decision it was sent to the Ankara 16th High Criminal Court. This cannot be accepted.”
“On 8th March, Öztürk was taken into custody at Lebanon Airport. On 13 March, she was given over with her eyes blindfolded. This was done unannounced. We know of course that she was received by MIT. Until August 28th she was tortured using various methods such as falaka and being left naked. ” Yilmaz said. He also stated that the identity of the torturers is still unknown and that they have not been able to find anyone to show the 898 marks of torture on the body of Ayten Öztürk, and that the judicial authorities do not want to see the traces of torture. Yilmaz said “The Istanbul public prosecutor, who we took our client to, didn’t look at the marks of torture, the prosecutor said “this isn’t my job”. We took her to the Sulh Criminal prosecutor, who also said “This isn’t my job” they didn’t even look at our client. Those who do not want to look at the traces of torture jailed our client with false allegations despite all the traces.”
Lawyer Betül Kozağaçlı said the following;
“Our client is not the one that is accused of a crime. This needs to be explained. You need to hear from Ayten Öztürk what she has experienced. Nobody can make play around with our mind, we all know that this file is directed to be hidden. Therefore, our client is not brought to the court. Our client is prevented from defending. There is no evidence of member-management of an organization. The evidence is the 898 scars on our client. Some newspapers say 868. No, I saw it. We’ve witnessed it. We saw 898 trails of torture. The political branch saw these traces. This “wanted report” created for my client is fake. My client, who did not have any Turkish money on herself, was found on a field due to a complaint (says the Ankara Political Police) made saying “We saw her on a bus going towards Yapracik”. The police officers of the Political Branch were even struggling to identify Ayten; although there is no photograph of Ayten on a list or any other place, the informant has not been questioned on the basis of using which information this complaint has been made. How much money did this person who made the complaint get from the 898 wounds and whom did he\she share this with? We ask: How was Ayten Ozturk brought to Turkey, and how was she brought to the empty field? They say that she is a very important member of the organization, and that she is a director, but they don’t investigate how someone so important can enter Turkey! Maybe there was another member of the organization beside her, maybe there was an action plan. Why was it not investigated how she entered Turkey? It says that someone else’s passport was found on her, but this passport has not been used. This passport has not been used to enter Turkey. Why wasn’t how she entered Turkey investigated?? ”
“It’s been said that my client is said to have gone on hunger strike with the instructions of the organization. I saw Ayten Öztürk. I saw her. I was scared to touch her. 42 kilos. She was having trouble talking, swallowing. Do you know why? She was tortured for six months and had not spoken to anyone for 6 months…”
“In the indictment its said; ‘Although there is a legal right, members of a left-wing terrorist organization refuse to give a statement to law enforcement officials and due to Ayten Öztürk exhibiting this attitude…‘. Are we going to separate these rights according to the citizen? Well if its legal, then to whom, or how, are these laws determined?”
Betül Kozağaçlı said that her client should have been present at the hearing today and concluded her words with the following;
“A judge said to my client “why didn’t you seek refuge in justice”. The judges and prosecutors who jailed Ayten ignored Ayten’s traces of torture. In this country, none of us are safe, we understand this once again. My client has to tell you who kidnapped her that night and how she was handed over. But they’re trying to cover this up.”
“There are very serious torture centers in this country. We are listening about these torture centers from people who come from foreign countries, as well as from people who were once members of judiciary. Everyone in this country is in danger. We are in danger as long as these torture centers exist and are not pursued.”
“I’m not sure how right it would be to request a file merge as we have requested acquittal, but my client has nothing to do with Ankara and if she is going to be tried, then this should be done in Istanbul.”
“Yes, we will have a criminal complaint for all of this, however there is a situation where it won’t be taken seriously and will be covered up. We want justice, but we can’t find justice”
Lawyer Ayşegül Çağatay said that her client’s meetings with her lawyer were restricted and that requests for a camera in the room to be removed during visitations was not accepted. With the following words, she stated that the reasons for the restriction decisions was irrational;
“These restrictions on my client are continuing, although my client has not been able to participate in right seeking actions due to her health condition, she has been subject to restrictions due to these actions taking place in prisons by political captives such as door hitting and shouting slogans. Another reason presented to us is that “the client knows who is coming before the prison administration”. This is a reason which contradicts common sense: when a client is transferred to a different prison the gendarmes are the only ones who know, and we do not receive information until the prisoner has been transferred, we are only able to inform the family of the prisoner once the transfer has taken place, so how can a jailed client know who is coming to visit unless the prison administration tells them?”
Following the listening of the statements of the court delegation, it was decided for the continuation of the detention of Ayten Ozturk, and also that the files will be merged and sent to Istanbul. It was also decided that the next hearing will take place in Istanbul.
The reasons for the continuation of detention: lack of evidence and the lack of defendant defense.
Lawyer Murat Yılmaz replied to this justification with: “Our client was arrested on charges of managing the organization, but the evidence for these crimes are not available in the indictment. The state is committing a crime. In addition; The fact that she could not give her defense was due to her not being brought here.” With these words, the hearing then came to an ended.
The date of the next hearing is unknown, but it is known that the hearing will be held in Istanbul.