Wife of former officer claims she suffered miscarriage after police beating

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Hacer Karaşal, the wife of former gendarmerie 1st Lt. Recep Karaşal, said in an interview that she suffered a miscarriage after being beaten by police officers at the Ankara Courthouse on January 25, 2019, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported on Thursday.

Speaking to the Bold Medya news website, Karaşal said she was 15 weeks pregnant when she went to the courthouse to speak with the judge who had ordered her husband’s arrest. “I was pregnant and very emotional. I didn’t even know why my husband was being put on trial, and had just found out that my husband would be sent to prison,” she said.

When Karaşal approached him, the judge immediately started shouting at her to leave, after which four police officers came and started kicking and beating her.

“While I was trying to protect my back, a female police officer started kicking my belly,” she said. “I screamed that I was pregnant, but that didn’t stop them.”

Karaşal claimed the female police officer insulted her, saying her baby was a “bastard.” She said she went back home, where she started bleeding.

“Apparently I passed out. Some of the neighbors saw blood on the stairs and opened my apartment door with the help of a locksmith,” Karaşal said. “I was taken to the hospital, where I found out my baby had died.”

Due to the circumstances and signs of physical violence, the doctor called the police. At first the police thought Karaşal was a victim of domestic violence and wrote an official report where it said the baby had died after its heart stopped due to physical violence to the mother.

However, Karaşal claimed that when she told the police what happened in the courthouse they wrote another report saying “the baby died after its heart stopped because the mother was under stress.”

Karaşal said she filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office; however, the courthouse claimed their camera system was not working on the day of the incident. The prosecutor did not pursuit the investigation.

Recep Karaşal was arrested in October 2018 on allegations that he was a member of the Gülen movement within the gendarmerie. He spent nine months in prison and was released in August 2019.

Witness statements were used as evidence against Recep Karaşal, and the prosecutor claimed he used a payphone to contact other members of the movement in the military.

The so-called “payphone investigations” are based on call records. The prosecutors assume that a member of the Gülen movement used the same payphone to call all his contacts consecutively. Based on that assumption, when an alleged member of the movement is found in call records, it is assumed that other numbers called right before or after that call also belong to people with Gülen links.

The accusations against the suspects include secretly communicating with their contacts within the movement via payphones.

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government launched a war against the Gülen movement, a worldwide civic initiative inspired by the ideas of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, after the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013 that implicated then-prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s family members and inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy, the AKP government designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. The government intensified the crackdown following the coup attempt.

Following the abortive putsch, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors as well as 29,444 members of the armed forces were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

A total of 319,587 people have been detained and 99,962 arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in November.

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