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Torture Goes Unpunished, Conscientious Objector May Be Sued For Insulting Military

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Bianet reported on 20 August that the Istanbul’s Office of the Hasdal Military Prosecutor decided there was no need for trial regarding the complaint made by conscientious objector Mehmet Bal about the bad treatment and torture he was subjected to in the military prison.

When released on June 8, after sixteen days in prison, for the reason that he was not fit to be a soldier, conscientious objector Bal was taken through a medical examination, during which various bruises were found on his body.

Although no lawsuit was filed against the officers, a lawsuit was filed against those three soldiers in Hasdal prison at the moment for “knowingly injuring others.” The Military Prosecutor also demanded reduced sentences for the three soldiers on the grounds that they were provoked.

At the end of the investigations about the private soldiers and officers and the three prisoners in Istanbul’s the 3rd Army Corps Military Prison that was launched between the dates of June 8 and 9, the Military Prosecutor decided on July 30 that there was no need for prosecution.

Those three prisoners who are on trial and the other prisoners in the same prison claimed in their statements that Bal had used sentences that included insults to the Turkish Armed Forces.

Therefore, the Military Prosecutor decided to file a criminal report about Bal’s insults with the Office of the Eyüp Public Prosecutor, since Bal is considered a civilian and a permission is needed to file a lawsuit under article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code.

Anti-war activists claim that the authorities are trying to put the blame on three prisoners, while not touching the private soldiers and their officers who were actually responsible for Bal’s safety. It is stated that the provocation was not done by Bal, but the internal security officers who told the prisoners “you know what to do, do what is necessary.” The announcement criticised the Military Prosecutor’s interpretation that this meant “Assist Bal”.

Bal’s lawyers will appeal against the decision within fifteen days. The Office of the Eyüp Public Chief Prosecutor will wait for the permission to file an article 301 case from the Ministry of Justice.

Source: Bianet: Torture Goes Unpunished, Conscientious Objector May Be Sued For Insulting Military, 20 August 2008

Veröffentlicht in CO-Update, September 2008, No. 41