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Turkey: Mehmet Tarhan again on hunger strike

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Turkish conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan was battered as his hair was violently cut by military prison authorities in Sivas. In response, Mehmet started an indefinite hunger strike, demanding an examination by civilian doctors, a report from a forensic medical facility documenting the torture and legal action against the perpetrators. 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 suffering 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.

Mehmet Tarhan was arrested on 8 April 2005, and sentenced to four years imprisonment on 10 August, on two charges of "insubordination in front of his unit" (see co-alert, 11 August 2005). He had been on hunger strike against torture and abuse previously, and only ended his first hunger strike on 21 June, after 28 days (see co-alert, 22 June 2005). More updates will soon be available on the WRI website.

Source: Emails from Turkish antimilitarists

Veröffentlicht in CO-Update, October 2005, No. 14