Prisoners’ mothers tortured with strip searches

Mothers detained during their vigil in front of the Bakirköy Closed Women’s Prison to draw attention to the hunger strikes and death fasts were subjected to strip searches in custody.

The mothers who were detained on Thursday and Friday as they were holding a vigil in front of the Bakirköy Prison to draw attention to the hunger strikes and death fasts in prisons against the Imrali isolation were taken to the Istanbul Vatan Police Headquarters Security Department Directorate where they were subjected to strip searches and insults.

Reporter Zeynep Kuray spent her Mother’s Day in stuffy cells together with the detained mothers in the Istanbul Police Headquarters. They were held in the Anti-terror Unit as “guests” for 4 days as there was no vacancy in the Security Department. Kuray said the mothers would sing and give each other morale with their white headscarves like they did during their vigils in front of prisons, even in the bad conditions of the Anti-terror Unit cells. Kuray spoke with the mothers, who were happy to embrace her when they saw her detained alongside them.


Kuray said: “The mothers were both insulted and angry at being subjected to strip searches. One of the mothers subjected to this undignified practice, Kumru Akgül, said female police officers wanted to forcibly take her clothes off. When she refused, 6 police officers jumped on her. One of them was forcing her clothes off while another started to record the spectacle on her phone. The mother started to scream at the top of her lungs that she would rather kill herself than to accept a strip search, and they jumped her.”

Fadime Keskin, who was one of the mothers detained from in front of the Bakirköy Prison, said she was also subjected to a strip search and 7 police officers tackled her.


Raziyete Yildirim, mother of Fatma Yildirim who has been on a hunger strike since December 16 in the Bayburt Prison, said the police insulted them in the detention vehicle they were battered and dragged into by the Bakirköy Prison. Yildirim said one of the officers asked her if she knew the National Anthem, and when she said she didn’t, she was called a “terrorist”. Yildirim said, “Don’t expect us to stay silent as our children waste away every day,” and added that no amount of tyranny or torture can stop them from speaking out.

The mothers held their Ramadan fast and prayed despite the inhumane conditions of the Anti-terror Unit where a nationalist song “Ölürüm Türkiyem” (“I Will Die For You My Turkey”) was blasted on loudspeakers late into the night to counter the mothers’ singing in Kurdish, and stressed that they will continue their resistance with great resolve.