Mother follows son into suicide following latter’s torture by police

Mother follows son into suicide following latter’s torture by police

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet
Mother follows son into suicide following latter’s torture by police

Onur Yaser Can, 28, was detained and tortured in June 2010 on suspicion of selling drugs in Istanbul’s Harbiye neighborhood. He committed suicide three weeks later out of fears that he would again be subjected to torture when police called on him to return to the station.

The mother of a young Istanbul architect who committed suicide in 2010 after suffering severe police torture has also committed suicide following a long period of grief over her son’s death.

Hatice Can reportedly jumped from a balcony on March 2, three-and-a-half years after her son, Onur Yaser Can, committed suicide on June 23, 2010. “She couldn’t stand the pain she was experiencing. She had been receiving psychological support,” the family’s lawyer, Ercan Kanar, was quoted as saying by daily Hürriyet.

Onur Yaser Can, 28, was detained on June 2, 2010, in Istanbul’s Harbiye neighborhood on suspicion of selling drugs. 

On the day before he died, Onur Yaser Can related to a friend his experience at the police station when he was first detained.

“While I was in custody, I forced to take off all my clothes. They told me to lean against the wall. I was made to cough, and I was forced for a while to wait while squatting. They then made me listen to the voice of someone crying and pleading with the police. I was hit and subjected to verbal insults,” he said.

Onur Yaser Can said he was again called to the police station on June 3, 2010, on the grounds that there had been a problem with the date on his initial testimony. The architect said police again threatened him, demanded that he become an informant and forced him to sign a different statement before releasing him.

Still operating the under alleged impression that he was a drug dealer, police began following Onur Yaser Can. On June 23, 2010, he was again called to the station; however, fearing a repeat of the earlier torture and threats, the man committed suicide.

Minimum penalty to police officers

The man’s family filed a criminal complaint against the police over their treatment in the case, but an Istanbul court subsequently sentenced two police officers to just two years and six months in prison for tampering with evidence in 2012, drawing the anger of the family and its lawyer.

“The judiciary has failed to show the requisite courage in dealing with crimes committed by public officials,” Kanar said.

After exhausting all domestic legal avenues, the family was preparing to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Speaking after her son’s death to daily Radikal reporter İsmail Saymaz for his book “Zero Tolerance” on police torture, Hatice Can had said: “This world will know that Onur Yaser was subjected to injustice. I draw strength from this. I’m now retired, but believe me, I’m in front of the computer every day, and, as if I’m working, I’m working for my son’s struggle for rights. The thing that keeps me going is this.”