Female HDP politicians subjected to strip-search in police custody

Four female HDP politicians have been subjected to degrading strip-search in the western Turkish city of Aydın.

In the western Turkish city of Aydın, four female HDP politicians have been subjected to degrading strip-search. The Women's Solidarity Platform in Aydın is outraged and described the procedure as torture. "Even if it is denied by government officials; strip-search in police custody and in detention has re-established itself as a method of torture in Turkey in the last decade," the initiative stressed in a statement. The Human Rights Foundation Turkey (TIHV) also reports an increasing number of people contacting the organization due to strip-search.

Two of the affected women from Aydın are Sadegül Akalın, who is co-chair of the HDP's Söke district association, and Caize Yörücü from the provincial executive committee. Both activists had been detained a week ago Sunday along with eleven other women from HDP structures and were released only after four days. Akalın reported that she had to endure three strip-searches while in police custody. The first time she had to endure the ordeal immediately after being transferred to the police station, and two other nude searches took place after consultations with her legal counsel. "The police justified the measure by saying that, after all, I might have hidden something in my body during the lawyer consultations," says Sadegül Akalın. Her party colleague Caize Yörücü was even searched naked by the police in her own apartment in the course of the arrest, she says. "I was arrested with another activist in Didim. At the police station, we had to completely expose ourselves in a room. The door was left ajar, with three or four male police officers standing in front of it. They asked us to squat down three times and jump up."

Meanwhile, the women's platform in Aydın has declared war on the state authorities: "For those who do not like to hear it, we repeat: Torture and any form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is prohibited, whether in detention, in war or in a state of emergency. Strip-searches are also among illegitimate methods of torture. As the Women's Solidarity Platform in Aydın, we stand by all our components and friends in their quest for justice. We women will never be alone in our journey."