Syrian refugee women reported rape and harassment by four police officers from the Urfa Provincial Security Directorate during a raid of their home without a search warrant on 24 February 2019.
Mesopotamia Agency – Syrian citizen M.D.(27) stated that police officers entered the home of her aunt H.H. at 2 am while she was there visiting. She stated that the police who entered the house put a gun to the head of her aunt’s son, and one of them took her to another room, and threatened her saying, “There’s a search warrant out for you, you have a fake passport and ID. If you do not do as I say, I’ll have you put away for 15 years on drugs charges. We are the state.”
She reported the incident to Urfa Chief State Prosecution, and the prosecution proceeded to take statements. The prosecution initiated an investigation against four police officers on charges of “qualified sexual assault”, “violation of residential privacy”, “deprivation of liberty by use force, threats or deception” and “simple sexual assault”. The case, in which one police officer was remanded in custody and the others released pending trial, resulted in acquittal despite certain proof of rape from a DNA match.
H.H., a 43-year-old refugee woman, stated that the police gathered the children into one room, and one of them took her niece M.D. to another room where she was sexually assaulted. H.H also stated that she herself was raped by one of the police officers.
M.D.’s sister F.D. (22) said that she was harassed by a police officer and threatened with 15 years in prison.
H.H.’s daughter M.A.M (27) who was in the same house on the day of the incident, said that they were taken to a separate room two hours later and there she was warned not to tell anyone about the incident, otherwise M.D. would be arrested on drugs charges. So, she said, she had not filed a complaint against anyone when she made her statement to law enforcement.
The police officers involved in the incident were identified as part of the investigation conducted by the Chief State Prosecution. Five people, 4 of whom were police officers, were interrogated by the prosecution on 16 September 2019. Police officer B.G. was arrested and remanded in custody on 17 September 2019. All five denied the accusations against them in their statements to the prosecution.
The police officers denied all the accusations of rape and harassment. They prepared and signed a report stating that they had knocked on the door on the morning of the incident to gather information, but had left the area when the occupants objected.
Police officer B.G., claimed in his statements that he had sexual intercourse with H.H with her willing consent, but that this had happened after the day of the incident. However, in the report prepared on 25 July 2019, it stated that DNA samples taken from B.G. matched those found on the clothing H.H. had been wearing on the day.
The Prosecutor’s Office filed a civil lawsuit against 5 people, 4 of whom were police officers, on charges of “deprivation of liberty by use of force, threat or deception”, “qualified sexual assault”, “violation of residential privacy” and “simple sexual assault”.
B.G. was released at a hearing held on January 30, 2020. At the end of the trial, the Prosecutor’s Office demanded the acquittal of the defendants because it “was not able to find sufficient evidence beyond any doubt” for the punishment of the defendants. The prosecution filed a complaint against the complainants on charges of slander.