Child loses arm while working illegally at dorm owned by religious group in Turkey
İsmail Saymaz – KÜTAHYAA 12-year-old boy lost his arm in August 2015 while working illegally in a private dormitory owned by a religious group in the Central Aegean province of Kütahya.
The incident occurred at the İkizhöyük Secondary Education Private School’s male dormitory, which is owned by the Süleymancılar religious group.
The boy, identified by the initials N.E., was visiting his older brother, identified only as S.E., on Aug. 22, 2015, and asked the manager of the dormitory, Mehmet Kalkan, if he could go out with his brother. Kalkan refused to give permission unless N.E. did some menial jobs that needed to be done in the dormitory’s kitchen.
The cook at the dormitory, Bünyamin Dağ, ordered S.E. to wash the dishes, and N.E. to grind meat. N.E.’s right arm later got caught in the meat grinder, after which he was rushed to hospital, where his arm was amputated.
According to N.E.’s testimony, he was threatened by Dağ to give a false testimony about the incident.
“If you don’t say you got curious and put your hand in the meat grinder when nobody was looking, I won’t call an ambulance,” Dağ said, according to N.E.’s testimony.
S.E. also said he was scared of the dormitory staff.
“I was scared and gave the testimony the way they wanted,” he said, adding that Kalkan and Dağ told the brothers they would take pay for the treatment process and nothing bad would happen to them if they did as demanded.
S.E. also said he and his brother were often forced to work by Kalkan and Dağ.
“They gave me a monthly salary of 250 Turkish liras and would make my brother work when he came to visit me,” he added.
A complaint was filed against Kalkan and Dağ on charges of “causing a person to get injured,” and the first hearing of the trial was held on April 1, 2016. Dağ insisted that N.E. put his hand in the machine, without his knowledge, and that S.E. had been working with him. Kalkan, meanwhile, stressed that the dormitory did not employ students.
The lawyer of the brothers’ family, Suat Özcan, filed a complaint for damages and said the family had a hard time paying the treatment expenses of N.E.
The Süleymancılar group has recently come under focus in Turkey, as it was running the girls’ dormitory in Adana where 10 people, including nine children, were killed in a fire blaze caused by negligence late on Nov. 29.