Do not ever forgive us, Afghan teen
The 17-year-old Afghan Lütfullah Tacik was a minor when he was caught on May 16, 2014, at the eastern border town Iğdır while trying to enter Turkey illegally with a group of friends. According to the rules, he was first sent to the Return Center at Van and later, because he was a minor, to the Child Return Center.
Later on, he was sent to the first center with other children so that bone measurement could be done to determine his age. According to witnesses, a police officer on duty there, S.O., slapped him, saying, “Why did you lie about your age?” He fell down and hit his head.
When he went back to where his friends were, he told them a policeman was angry at him and had hit him. He said he was feeling dizzy, but then he started drooling.
Later, the children were sent to the hospital for another bone test. Lütfullah was alive on a stretcher when he went into the hospital but he lost his life there.
An investigation started and the police officer was suspended from duty (later, as the case was ongoing, he returned to active duty); in other words, all the correct procedures were done on paper.
The report prepared by the police inspector and the report of the National Human Rights Institution of Turkey (Türkiye İnsan Hakları Kurumu) can be found on the website (www.tihk.gov.tr) dated Dec. 18, 2014.
The report is full of inconsistencies: the camera was broken at the spot where the physical attack happened, the dates and hours of the other cameras were tampered with and the other refugees who were witnesses were “absent” (there are claims that they were encouraged to run away.)
Taking all this into account, the case of Lütfullah Tacik was trying to be “forgotten” just like the case of Festus Okey from Nigeria, who in 2007 was shot and killed at an Istanbul police station. His case was branded as “suicide.” His coffin was sent to his country, Nigeria, with a “Thank You Turkey” note attached to it.
Two years have passed since the 17-year-old Lütfullah Tacik case. What do you think has happened in the case?
Let us all read about it from Banu Şen’s story in daily Hürriyet:
“The policeman [S.O.] was taken to court on charges of ‘involuntary manslaughter.’ Last week, the fourth session of the case was held at Van 2nd Heavy Criminal Court. The court rejected the demands of intervention from several NGOs. The court also rejected the intervention of the dead child’s lawyer, Mahmut Kaçan, on grounds that there is no proxy from the child’s family.”
The refugee coordinator of Amnesty International, Volkan Görendağ, participated in the trial as an observer and said, “The court, by rejecting the demands of intervention from Lütfullah Tacik’s lawyer, NGOs and the Ankara Bar, is causing the case to proceed one-sidedly.”
I would like to address poor Lütfullah: Dear youngster, you were running away from poverty, but death caught you here.
I don’t know if you would consider this good news or not, but in this world where justice seems to be a lip service with no essence to it, there is also the concept of “poetic justice” that they say they believe in. There, in the afterlife, you may be able to get them.
I apologize to you; I am very sorry Lütfullah that, apart from two plain pieces, I did not fight for your rights properly.
I cannot say forgive us Lütfullah…
Please do not forgive us…