Newly released RedHack suspect says threatened with rape during detention

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Taylan Kulaçoğlu

After he was kept behind bars for 12 days as part of an investigation into Turkish hacker group RedHack, Taylan Kulaçoğlu, an alleged member of the group, has said he was threatened with rape during his detention.

Six people including Kulaçoğlu who were detained on Sept. 24 as part of investigation into the hacker group were released on Thursday. The suspected members of the group were detained immediately after RedHack claimed that it had hacked the email accounts of Berat Albayrak, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law and energy minister of Turkey.

The hackers threatened to disclose 20 GB of secret information if the Turkish government failed to release Alp Altınörs, deputy co-chairperson of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and prize-winning novelist and journalist Aslı Erdoğan by a given deadline.

“You will be the wife of everybody here. We will cut your hair as well. You will be [forced] to sleep with every one of us. Prison is not like outside. You have no idea what is happening here. We are no longer in the year 2013,” Kulaçoğlu quoted prison officials as telling him, according to the  Cumhuriyet daily on Thursday.

“Where did you get these documents? Tell me the where those emails are kept. Give us information and we let you go,” he said referring to the pressure imposed on him by prison officials.

Denying any link to RedHack, he said maltreatment was not limited only to those detained as part of the crackdown against the hacker group.

“There was awful treatment of all detainees. Not only of us but also of those imprisoned as part of  the MHP [ Nationalist Movement Party]  case. They were also being tortured. They told me: ‘We faced capital punishment during the Sept.12, 1980 [coup] era. But it was better back then.’ Believe me, they have no mercy on people in custody,” he added.

Noting that 25-year-old Uğur Cihan Okutulmuş was detained one day before him as part of the same investigation, Kulaçoğlu added: “RedHack was founded in 1991, and Uğur was born in 1997. They detained Uğur on charges of leading the organization. So Uğur should have established this organization when he was 6. Those are nonsense accusations.”

“Uğur was not speaking with us. At first, we did not understand why. Then we found that he was tortured through several methods including Palestinian Hanging,” Kulaçoğlu said before adding that officials kicking detainees in the head was among common practices.

Kulaçoğlu said he along with other RedHack suspects were released thanks to public outrage and related news in the media.

RedHack suspects asked about links to Gülen

The Cumhuriyet daily claimed in a news story on Friday that it obtained records of the interrogation of the RedHack suspects and found out that they were questioned about their possible membership in the faith-based Gülen movement, against which the government is waging an all-out war, claiming that the movement masterminded a failed coup on July 15.

Cumhuriyet said the six RedHack suspects were asked questions such as whether they had subscriptions to the now-closed Taraf and Zaman newspapers or the Sızıntı and Aksiyon magazines; whether they had a bank account at the Gülen-affiliated Bank Asya; whether they used a smart phone application known as ByLock, which prosecutors say is the top communication tool among members of the Gülen movement;and whether they have any sympathy towards the Gülen movement or made any donations to the movement.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement although the movement strongly denies any involvement.

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