TURKEY: Conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan again on hunger strike after mistreatment


TURKEY: Conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan again on hunger strike after mistreatment
War Resisters' International is very concerned about recent reports about mistreatment of imprisoned Turkish conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan. According to reports received by the WRI office, on 30 September, at about 3pm, Mehmet Tarhan was told by non-commissioned military prison officer Hilmi Savluk, who was accompanied by 3-4 guards, that they were to cut Mehmet's hair. It took 7-8 people to restrain Mehmet and to cut his hair and beard against his will, using force. As a result, Mehmet Tarhan is suffering from pain in his face, both hands, in his left arm and left foot, and has bruises on arms and legs. He is unable to turn his neck because of pain in his neck and face. In protest against this treatment, Mehmet Tarhan again went on hunger strike.
On 1 October, at about 2.30pm, he was - again against his will - transferred to a military hospital, where he was "examined" by two military doctors (who walked around him for 10 minutes to examine him), and then sent back to the military prison.
A friend of Mehmet Tarhan in prison, Ali, was also mistreated. He too resisted to his hair being cut, and was subsequently taken to his cell, were he was beaten. As a result of blows to his head, he now suffers from blurred vision, and his right side was numb. He was sent to the military hospital, where it was decided to send him to the university hospital following an examination. He fainted during the transfer. At the university hospital, he was examined and a report was made. He was then returned to the military prison, where he remains under observation following the mistreatment.
Ali too went on hunger strike after these events, demanding the public exposure of those responsible, and their prosecution, and an end to illtreatment and torture in prison.

It has been reported that both prisoners have a small supply of vitamin B1 from Mehmet Tarhan's previous hunger strike, plus salt, suger, and water. However, the don't have access to juice, and the prison canteen said that they don't have juice, and don't know when they will get juice. This can have negative health consequences during their hunger strike.

Mehmet Tarhan was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment on 10 August 2005, on two charges of "insubordination in front of his unit". He received a sentence of two years imprisonment for each of the charges. He had been arrest in Izmir on 8 April 2005.
Tarhan had been on hunger strike from 25 May to 21 June 2005, to protest against maltreatment and the authorities inability to protect him in prison. He ended his hunger strike after 28 days, after the prison authorities accepted his demands (see TK14724-220605). Tarhan had been briefly released from military prison following a trial session on 9 June 2005 (see TK14724-220605), but had been brought back to his military unit, where he was again given a military order, which he refused. This lead to the second charge, and a second trial on 12 July, where the decision was taken to join the two cases, which resulted in the sentence on 10 August 2005.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to Mehmet Tarhan.
Mehmet Tarhan
5. Piyade Egitim Tugayi
Askeri Cezaevi
Temeltepe - Sivas

War Resisters' International calls for urgent protest faxes and emails to:

ÂÂÂ - General Staff of the Turkish Military: Fax +90-312-4250813
ÂÂÂ - Presidency of the Turkish Republic: Fax +90-312-4271330, email cumhurbaskanligi@tccb.gov.tr
ÂÂÂ A protest email to the Turkish President Ahmet Nezdet Secer can be sent at http://wri-irg.org/co/alerts/20051003a.html .

ÂÂÂ - Sivas Military Prison
ÂÂÂ â 5. Piyade Egitim Tugayi
ÂÂÂ â Askeri Cezaevi
ÂÂÂ â Temeltepe - Sivas
ÂÂÂ â Turkey
ÂÂÂ â Fax +90-346-2253915

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Mehmet Tarhan and all other imprisoned conscientious objectors.
Background information:

* War Resisters' International: Statement of the WRI Council meeting, Seoul, 2 July 2005
* War Resisters' International: Turkey campaign page
* War Resisters' International: Mehmet loves Baris: Documentation CO in Turkey (html, pdf)

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International
Archives of co-alert can be found at http://wri-irg.org/news/alerts