The high school students who held an action the day before yesterday in front of Kadıköy Süreyya Opera in protest at the AKP’s educational policies and were arrested following a harsh police intervention were released yesterday morning after their statements had been taken at Yoğurtçu Children’s Police Station. The marks left by the torture the children suffered under police custody bears testament to the way the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is being ridden roughshod over. Members of Revolutionary High School Students (Dev-Lis), Şair Abay Konanbay Anatolian High School student Baran Yıldırım and Cumhuriyet Anatolian High School student Berivan Han, who were forced to spend their high-school graduation day under arrest, described how the police threatened them saying, “We will kill you in your neighbourhood like Berkin” and their seventeen-year-old friend was subjected to a strip search. Yıldırım and Han spoke to our paper about the torture they underwent while under arrest.
Indicating that two reasons inspired them to go onto the street and protest on their report card day, Baran Yıldırım said, “There is nothing to like about the education system. In the action we staged, we were going to protest against the system and say that the education system had failed its exams. We were going to indicate that we had not received our report cards and wanted to give the report cards of our own devising to the system. Also, two of our number were arrested for writing “kettle” on a wall. We wanted to show our reaction to their being detained. However, there was an intervention at the outset. We were arrested without having done anything.” Yıldırım, stating that this was his first arrest, said, “When the police began to attack, I began to shout, ‘Let hands raised against children be broken.’ However, those hands continued to be raised against children. I had no idea that being under arrest would be so painful. We were beaten in the arrest vehicle. We were taken to İskele Police Station. Motorbike team police officers suddenly came in. They began striking us with the tasers, truncheons and hard police gloves in their hands. They hit me in the eye. The doctor took a tomography during the health control saying there may be a fracture. He issued a report saying I had been beaten.”
“Mine was to expect mercy from the oppressor”
Indicating that it had not occurred to him that he would be beaten on the day he graduated, Yıldırım said he had no expectation that the police intervention against children would be so harsh. Yıldırım, saying, “Mine was to expect mercy from the oppressor,” commented, “I was suddenly gripped by hopelessness. We were getting a beating and I thought I would be detained. I had no idea that people outside were getting involved for us. We had no other option apart from resisting the police officers’ threats and demeanour. We were released thanks to the public reaction that built up on the outside.”
Berivan Han, in turn, noting that she lived in Gazi Quarter, said, “I have got used to police interventions. But, I was not expecting them to attack us with such anger and malice. Apart from being beaten up, they constantly swore at us. One of our seventeen-year-old friends was subjected to a strip search. There were friends of ours who were afraid because they are of a younger age. We tried to protect one another from police violence. I took a sixteen-year-old friend to my side. Our hands were cuffed but when the police beat somebody the others moved in front of them.” Indicating that they would continue to struggle, Han commented, “We will continue to resist for children killed at a young age, children unable to get their report cards at high schools and children exploited at vocational high schools. They cannot cow us like this.”