Denouncing the violence she suffered at the hands of the police, journalist Elfazi Toral said: “They repeatedly punched me in the heart, attacked me with kicks, and subjected me to strip search.”
Elfazi Toral was taken into custody in Istanbul last week while covering a public press conference organized by the provincial association of the HEDEP (Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party) in protest at the brutal police crackdown on demonstrators against Turkish violations of rights in Kurdistan. Almost fifty people were detained in the attack on the protest, and many were ill-treated in police custody. The security authorities prevented the press conference.
In addition to Toral, her colleague Sema Korkmaz from the Demokratik Modernite (Democratic Modernity) magazine and activist Edanur Aydoğdu from the HEDEP Youth Council were also taken into custody by the police in front of the HEDEP headquarters in Istanbul. After a mandatory health check, the three women were taken to the Vatan police headquarters in Istanbul’s Fatih district, which is a notorious torture center.
After a night in the detention cell, Toral, Korkmaz and Aydoğdu were transferred to the court on duty in the morning. The detainees were released, with Toral being subject to judicial supervision.
Mesopotamia Women Journalists’ Association (MKG) and Dicle Fırat Journalists’ Association (DFG) made a statement for JINNEWS reporter Elfazi Toral and Demokratik Modernite employee Sema Korkmaz after their detention and violent treatment by the police. Many journalists attended the meeting at the Human Rights Association (IHD) building in Beyoğlu.
JINNEWS Correspondent Elfazi Toral said: “They repeatedly punched me in the chest and heart. I was kept in the detention vehicle for 5 hours. I was subjected to both physical and psychological violence. They kicked me in the vehicle. Although I told them that I had health problems, they did not stop. At the police station, the police said that I resisted them. The violence continued at the police station. I was subjected to strip search. As journalists coming from the Free Press tradition, we will continue our resistance to the truth. We will continue our insistence against their attacks.”
Sema Korkmaz also spoke about the violence she experienced, saying: “Our work will continue. The Free Press cannot be silenced.”
Elif Taşdöğen, a member of the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD), said that the police officers ignored their own law, adding: “We see that there is a police state here rather than a state of law. We followed the whole process. We received reports documenting the police violence, and we will take the legal process to the end.”
JINNEWS Reporter and MKG Member Marta Sömek also stated that they will file a criminal complaint to the prosecutor’s office this week together with the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) and IHD. “We will not give up our professional activities and we will continue writing the truth in the face of these attacks,” Marta Sömek said.