Torturer Police Officer in the UN mission

Scandal!! The primary actor of Kırıkkale torturers was assigned to the UN post in Sudan

YASİN DEMİR, Third Class Police Chief Superintendent, Director of Anti-Terrorism

Division at the Kırıkkale City Police Department of Turkish National Police, responsible of torture practices in his division, was seconded to a UN position in United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) as a Civilian Police officer.

On 15th of February 2017, seven prisoners at the bar over alleged links to a failed coup in Turkey last July, said during the court hearing in Kırıkkale Heavy Penal Court that they were subjected to heavy torture including stripping naked, spraying with ice cold water, crushing testicles, shoving police baton into anus while they were under the police custody.

After the hearing, the judge made an official complaint to public prosecutor office on 21st of February. According to the lawyers of the defendants, in a follow up memorandum to the court Public Prosecutor Osman Şişmanoğlu notified that an investigation was initiated with case number 2017/2045 and investigation was still in progress. He also mentioned that the court will be notified once the investigation is completed.

According to the torture practices in Kırıkkale reportedly initiated with the approval of the city police chief, Hasan Onar, and continued under his successor, Mehmet Çorumlu. It is also mentioned that head of public prosecutor office Kasım Tüten allegedly turned into blind eye for the mistreatment of detainees in the city of Kırıkkale.(1)

Testimonies of defendants point the Anti-Terrorism Division of the City Police Department.(2)

Yasin Demir was running the division when these events happened, which makes him the primary suspect of these torture allegations. However, according to information provided by Aktifhaber, this primary suspect of such horrendous crime, Yasin Demir, who was seconded to the UN Police Mission in Sudan by the Turkish Government on April 21, 2017, shares photographs taken from social media accounts along the Nile River. (3)

(Yasin Demir, second from the right, is seen in the photograph taken along the Nile River.)

Torture is a category of crime against humanity and not subject to any time limitation for a criminal inquiry. The fact that a police officer accused of torture is being sent abroad is also a means to protect him from an investigation. However, “repatriation” is the common practice for the UN once they learn such accusations.

Seconding Yasin Demir to a UN Mission could be considered as a reward. According to the TNP regulations no one can be assigned to these missions unless cleared of all the accusations against. It is unknown how Minister of Interior Mr. Suleyman Soylu signed his appointment papers to a UN mission.

Police peacekeeping missions of TNP began in 1996 with International Police Task Force (IPFT) in Bosnia Herzegovina. Over the years, TNP has increased its contribution to multinational police operations. In 2006, the TNP was among the top five police agencies to contribute the highest number of police officers to UN peacekeeping missions.

In 2003, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan, declared that the Turkish contribution to UN peacekeeping operations should be maintained or increased due to

Turkey’s candidacy bid for the UN Security Council as a nonpermanent member for 2009 and 2010. This foreign policy declaration placed obligations on the TNP to maintain and increase its level of contribution to UN peacekeeping missions.

The TNP have seconded over 2000 police officers to multinational police missions since 1996. The source of eligible officers was mostly ranking officers of the TNP that were considered the core element of the force.

Currently, the TNP has deployed many officers to different UN missions, EU missions, and

OSCE missions all around the world.

However, with the post-coup investigations almost all of 2000 police officers with previous mission experience were purged and mostly jailed without single evidence by the Erdogan Regime. Therefore the TNP is having some sort of difficulties in circulating police contingent in police peacekeeping missions. It is now evident that the Regime utilizes UN missions as a reward to officers who violate law in favor of the government’s agenda, as seen in Yasin Demir case. With all the evidence, it would be naive to hope that an effective administrative or criminal investigation will be conducted.

UN, EU, and OSCE should take this as a warning flag and initiate an investigation on most recent seconded Turkish police officers about their possible torture allegations. Suspending Turkey as mission contributor country should also be on the table as a policy option to bar torturers from international police peacekeeping missions.

In December 2016, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer described the environment following the failed coup on July 15 in Turkey as “conducive to torture”.

In a report dated 27th of October 2016 and titled “A Blank Check: Turkey’s Post-Coup Suspension of Safeguards Against Torture,” Human Rights Watch documented 13 specific abuse incidents concerning Turkey’s post-coup detainees.

Human rights group Amnesty International reported on July 24 that it had received credible evidence of detainees in Turkey being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, since a failed coup on July 15. Thousands of medical doctors were purged and jailed, which makes İt even more troubling to issue medical reports to prove the signs of torture. In many occasions, doctors are blamed to be working with police to cover up the torture practices.

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have recently decided to reopen a political monitoring process against Turkey because of crackdown on opponents compromised human rights and the rule of law.

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