Detention and torture of the HDP’s Youth Assembly members

The information note by our vice co-chair Hişyar Özsoy regarding the detention and torture of the HDP’s Youth Assembly members:

The Turkish government continues with its unlawful policies of oppression and intimidation against the HDP. One of the components of the HDP that is most exposed to such policies is unsurprisingly the youth assembly.

On 7 November 2019, 36 members of HDP’s Youth Assembly, including 6 members of the Assembly’s executive board, were detained by the Turkish police with the pretext of a legal investigation that had been launched in 2018. The detentions took place in the cities of Ağrı, Diyarbakır, İzmir, Bitlis, Balıkesir, Tekirdağ, and İstanbul. All of the detainees were transferred to Istanbul.

According to their lawyers, many of these detainees were ill treated and tortured. The detainees who were transferred to İstanbul were subjected to stripped body search and those who refused were tortured. The detainees did not have any access to their lawyers for the first 2 days. To protest torture and inability to see their lawyers, the detainees started hunger strike. The police have refused to provide the striking detainees with sugar and salt. On 11 November, the police took the detainees to the Court only to extend their detention period. They will be under detention for another four days. Upon return from the Court, the police wanted to do stripped body search again. According to HDP’s Istanbul deputy Ms Zuleyha Gulum, who talked with the lawyers, one of the detainees, Mr Metin Yilmaz, refused stripped body search. He was then taken “to a dark room without cameras and tortured so badly that he can hardly walk.”

Turkish government is particularly aggressive and hostile towards the HDP’s youth assembly, which is an autonomous decision-making body within the party. Over the past three years hundreds of youth assembly members were detained and many of them imprisoned, including the representative of the youth assembly in our foreign affairs team. Despite these pressures, the youth assembly has expressed its commitment to maintaining its democratic struggle.

We hereby and once again call upon the democratic international community and institutions, especially youth organizations, to stand in solidarity with the HDP’s youth and raise their voices against detentions and torture.

Hişyar Özsoy
Deputy Chair of the HDP for Foreign Affairs
MP for Diyarbakır
12 November 201