University student Eser Morsümbül was taken into police custody after a press release issued in front of the Istanbul University Beyazıt Campus on 12 October. Morsümbül had attended the press release by carrying a banner reading "We want education free of charge".
The student had to wait in a vehicle for hours where he was allegedly beaten. He had to undress completely when he was searched and was then made to wait in a cold prison cell before he was taken to court. Morsümbül claimed, "They threatened me that I was going to 'disappear' just as my uncle did". 26-year-old Morsümbül is a student at the Department of Business Administration at the Anatolia University Faculty of Open University.
"They cut my way when I was going home"
On 12 October, extraordinary measures had been taken around the Beyazıt campus of the renowned Istanbul University because Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was going to deliver a speech to mark the beginning of the academic year.
Members of the Youth Federation wanted to gather in front of the university with their banners featuring the slogans "We want free education" and "No missile shield but a fully independent Turkey". Among the students were also Berna Yılmaz and Ferhat Tüzel who were kept in detention for 19 months because they had posted a similar banner during another speech of the Prime Minister.
Morsümbül recalled, "The roads were closed. We were not even allowed to get close to the university. We issued our press release at the place shown to us by the police and everybody went into different directions afterwards. I was just on my way home when the police cut my way and made me lay down on the ground. I was kicked and taken into police custody. They handcuffed me and my friends and brought us to a construction site. We were beaten there. After that, we had to enter a bus".
Beaten and harassed
12 students were taken into custody and brought to the Vatan Police Directorate. Morsümbül said that they had to wait handcuffed in the vehicle for six hours right opposite the Security Branch Directorate. "We were beaten and exposed to degrading insults during that time", the student stated.
With a 50 percent loss of his kidney function Morsümbül is in queue for a transplant. The student is also suffering from hypertension, a development disorder and osteoporosis.
Mosümbül claimed, "The beating and curses were going on at the Haseki Training and Research Hospital where we were taken for a health control. I said that I needed the bathroom because of my kidney disorder. They wanted to search me. When I refused they pushed me to the floor and started kicking me. 'We will kill you, we will harm your family, you will get lost just like your uncle' they threatened me. They pulled the trigger of an empty gun and pretended to kill me".
"On the way back in the vehicle they wounded my friends Cem Erbay and Eda Arı with a gun butt. Eda's arm was broken. They constantly beat me on my kidneys", Morsümbül said. When they were taken back to the police the student was exposed to harassment after he had to undress completely because he was allegedly going to be searched.
The court the students were taken to the next evening released them under "judicial control measures". The students are alleged of "opposing Law No.2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations". Six of the students, among them Morsümbül, are obliged to go to the local police station every Saturday night at 8.00 pm to give their signature.
Student's grandmother is a "Saturday Mother"
Morsümbül's uncle, Hüseyin Morsümbül, was taken into police custody in Bingöl (south-eastern Turkey) aged 19 one week after the coup d'état on 12 September 1980. His mother Fatma Morsümbül, grandmother of the student, went to the gendarmerie station the next day and was told "Hüseyin is here". However, when she went there the next day they told her "Your son has escaped".
Hüseyin's father Hanefi Morsümbül was taken from his home blindfolded. He was tortured and released. One week later, they went to the prosecution to complain.
Four years later they received a phone call and a person told them, "Hüseyin was killed by torture. He was wrapped into a blanket and taken away from the police station. He was thrown into the Murat River".
The family was forced to move to Istanbul after the pressure on them had been constantly increasing. Hüseyin Morsümbül was deprived of his citizenship in 2003 because he had not done his military service. He has been missing for 31 years.
Childhood between İHD and prison
Eser Morsümbül's other uncle Ekin Morsümbül was detained pending trial in the Bayrampaşa (Istanbul) Prison from 1995 to 1999. He was charged with "membership of the Kurdistan Workers' Party" (PKK).
"When I was a child I frequently went to the Saturday Mothers/People together with my grandmother. We also went to the Human Rights Association (İHD) together. When I was nine or ten years old, we went to visit my uncle at prison. I even remember how I played on the prison corridors". (AS)