Shut Down the Human Slaughterhouses!

Statement by Conscientious Objection Platform, Turkey, 8 November 2006


Conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan has been subjected to attempts on his life, insults, blackmailing, and assault during the 11 months he has spent in the military prison of Temeltepe, Sivas. What has been done to Mehmet Tarhan goes against any conception of humanity.


The military and military service in Turkey are considered above all debate and question. The military is also the most closed institution. No one knows exactly what is going on in it. Military prisons are shrouded in a thick curtain of mist. We strongly believe that they are the places where the most horrendous forms of torture and isolation are implemented, and that this would be brought to light if military prisons could ever be inspected. Torture is a systematic practice in military prisons, each of which has turned into a slaughterhouse of humanity and human dignity. Mehmet Tarhan’s experience has been the most blatant example of this.


An investigation has been started into  the prison administration on the basis of claims “negligence of duty;” it is of crucial importance to have this investigation carried out fairly and promptly. This would also serve the good purpose of attaining transparency and fair administration in military prisons. However, the fact that the preparatory investigation into the administrators of Temeltepe in Sivas took almost five months unfortunately does not leave us much hope for the outcome of any other investigation. This preparatory investigation following the complaint of Suna Coşkun, Tarhan’s attorney was started , after she applied to the public prosecutor on 23.05.2005. The fact that the authorities have been quite slow to complete this investigation, as they have always been with any charges of torture, makes us worry about the prospects of any future investigation.


It is vitally important that those responsible for this torture be duly punished.


We hope that this case will be the occasion to start the process of finally ending torture and closing down Military Prisons, which have become slaughterhouses of human life and dignity.


We expect much public interest in the court case on 8 November 2006 in the military courthouse of Sivas.


Our Conscientious Objection? Platform will continue closely watching the process.