Taken from Sky Magazine's November 1992 issue, the following article is a part of a special feature for Amnesty International; where Seal writes about Tibet, Boy George about South Africa and Sinéad O'Connor about Turkey.

    Earlier this year Turkish police murdered Biseng Anik, a 16-year old girl from Turkey’s Sirndah province. Before she died she had been viciously tortured. Her grandfather told Amnesty that “her hands were torn between the fingers”. Someone had burnt cigarettes into her skin so her body was burned all over. Half her head was missing.

     Biseng Anik was arrested in March for being involved in riots which  happened around the Kurdish New Year. She was one of a hundred arrested for their “crime”. Her mother said that 10 policemen came to the house to get her.

     Ten policemen for one girl...

     When they asked the police how long she’d be away, they said she could leave as soon as they'’ taken a statement from her. Later her mother got a call telling her to “come and collect the body”. The police said Biseng had killed herself. She was only 16. Her grandfather said that the bullet looked like it went through the back of her head out of her eye, but the police reckon that a rifle had been left under the bed in her cell and she used it to kill herself.

     So, according to the police, she picked up the rifle, manouvred it round her back, managing to keep the tip of the barrel pointing at her head and, with a spare hand, pulled the trigger and blew her brains out. It’s not that easy to shoot yourself from behind. Yet the Governor of Sirdnah province, where Biseng had lived, supported this version and the State Prosecutor claimed that the autopsy report proved that she committed suicide.

     After almost being beaten and tortured to death, the police finished her off by shooting her in the back of the head. They then blamed Biseng for her own murder. How can they be so confident of not getting caught that they don’t even bother to invent a proper cover story? This feeble excuse is being supported at all levels from police who killed her to the heads of justice.

     Nothing is going to bring Biseng back, but she deserved to have her name cleared and those responsible must be punished so that next time they’ll think twice about pulling the trigger. They didn’t think twice last time because they knew they’d get away with it.

     As with dozens of countries around the world, Turkey’s police are often a law unto themselves. Last year Amnesty reported that at least 500 people in over 40 countries died as a result of torture, inhumane prison conditions or in “suspicious circumstances”.

     In Turkey methods of torture described by people detained include being suspended by their wrists, being beaten on the soles of their feet, or having crocodile clips attached to bits of their body which are then connected to electricity. Women say they have been raped with truncheons specially adapted to administer electric shocks.

     Please do something about it. These things happen because the police know they can get away with it. Let them know that you and thousands of other people like you are watching and they’ll stop.

     Former prisoners know how it works. One told Amnesty that while he was tortured “the door flew open and in came the commanding officer. He looked at us lying on the torture table and he said, ‘We have decided to let you leave because so many people on the outside are concerned about you’.”

     Be one of those on the outside who are concerned. If you want to do something about Biseng’s case, write now. Send a polite letter (rude ones don’t work) to the Turkish Ambassador, Mr. Candemir Orhon, 13 Belgrave Square, London SW1X. Start the letter “Dear Ambassador”, tell him you know the about the case and ask that he press for autopsy results to be made available to Biseng’s family. It could make all the difference. 

    * Visit Amnesty International at www.amnesty.org and
       please consider donating time and money.

    * Special thanks to Eralp for sending this article to me.

.:. back to articles .:.