Police intimidation of children during Newroz

Two 5-year-old brothers were detained and fingerprinted in the Bismil district of Amed, while in the center of Amed alone, 74 children were detained on Newroz day. An unlawful investigation was carried out, and blood samples were taken from the children.

At the Newroz celebration held on 19 March 2022 in the Bismil district of Amed, two 5-year-old brothers wearing the national dress of the Kurds were taken into custody. It was learned that the twin brothers were detained together with their mother, and even their fingerprints were recorded in the system during the procedures there. Making a statement on this event, the Amed Bar Association drew attention to the unlawfulness of the event.

Speaking to ANF, lawyer Mehmet Emin Gün from the Amed Bar Association Child Rights Center said that many children were unlawfully detained in Amed, especially on Newroz Day: “On Newroz, 74 children were detained only in Diyarbakır centre. 42 of them were released at night and were handed over to their families. The remaining 32 were referred to the prosecutor's office a day later, but the prosecutor's office said that they would hand them over to their families without taking their statements. There were also some irregularities there.”

Lawyer Gün stated that while juvenile crimes should normally be handled by the prosecutor's office in the juvenile bureau, they were handled by the Anti-Terrorism (TEM) prosecutors here: “Normally, the investigation procedures of the juvenile driven to crime must be carried out by the prosecutor working in the juvenile bureau as per Article 15 of the Child Protection Law. However, the investigation was carried out by TEM prosecutors. This is also an issue that we have been dealing with for a long time in Diyarbakır and the region. This is a very serious unlawfulness in the first place. We complained about this before at the Ministry of Justice and the HSK (Board of Judges and Prosecutors). The Ministry of Justice responded positively in our favour. However, we see that this practice continues. In this Newroz event, the TEM prosecutor again conducted the investigation. We think that this is one of the reasons why so many children were taken and these irregularities experienced.”

60-70 children kept in very bad custody conditions

Lawyer Mehmet Emin Gün added that the children were kept in extremely bad conditions while in custody. “The children were held in conditions that would be considered as ill-treatment. 60-70 children remained in small spaces and detention centers, one on top of the other, so to speak, and their needs were not met. They were mistreated. Some remained in custody for a full day or more. Unfortunately, we learned about the incident in Bismil from the press. While dealing with those in the center of Diyarbakır, the districts came second. After learning from the press, we immediately contacted the family and filed a criminal complaint, and we filed a complaint with HSK about the prosecutor. We also filed a criminal complaint against law enforcement.”

Children under 12 cannot be in custody

Reminding that the regulation on arrest and detention cannot apply to children under the age of 12, lawyer Gün said: “The regulation clearly states that children under the age of 12 cannot be arrested for crime. This has also been violated. You cannot detain a five-year-old child. These two little children were taken to the police station. Fingerprinted. Moreover, blood samples were taken from children in Diyarbakır. We don't know why the blood was taken. I think that these things have been done to scare children away from the Newroz celebrations. There were many attacks that day. A very heavy search method has been used with women. It would be correct to say that these were all attacks on the Newroz celebration.”