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Turkish lawyer reports torture of suspect detained over Gülen links

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A lawyer from Kayseri province has reported that her client, who was detained due to his alleged affiliation with the Gülen movement, was subjected to torture and ill treatment during detention, the Bold Medya news website reported on Monday.

Zehra Karakulak, attorney for Mehmet Ali Çetin, said when she first visited her client, his clothes were covered with dust and dirt.

“He burst into tears when he saw me,” Karakulak told a reporter. “He had been subjected to torture for four days with a bag over his head.”

Last week Kayseri police took 27 suspects into custody in an investigation into Gülen movement followers who were under suspicion for rejuvenating the movement’s activities in the province.

Turkey accuses the movement of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt, although it strongly denies any involvement.

Some 540,000 people have been investigated since the failed coup over Gülen links, according Turkish authorities.

“I volunteered to be assigned to the case because my friend’s father was among the detainees,” Karakulak said.

Çetin told his lawyer that six police officers — one of them named Necmettin — had beaten him for four days.

The lawyer also said police officers tried to force Çetin to sign a statement, but he refused after she took up his case.

“The police asked if I changed his mind,” Karakulak said.

The Kayseri Bar Association told Karakulak they would support her in the event torture or ill treatment had occurred, according to the report.

“Later, deputies Sezgin Tanrıkulu and Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu called me,” she added.

Gergerlioğlu, a deputy from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a human rights activist, posted a tweet on Monday detailing the torture reports from Kayseri.

“I couldn’t stay silent in the face of torture,” Karakulak said.

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