Suspect behind bars ‘pending trial’ for 22 years
ISTANBULA court in Turkey has suspended the trial of a suspect who was arrested over criminal organization-related charges in 1994 and has been under arrest pending trial for 22 years, online news outlet Diken reported on April 12.
İlhan Çomak’s trial was suspended to June 1 by Istanbul’s Çağlayan court, as his lawyer’s demand for his release was rejected by prosecutors.
Arrested as a 21-year-old student in 1994 for his alleged involvement in pro-Kurdish rights student groups, Çomak has now spent half of his life behind bars.
“I have not done anything to deserve such a heavy punishment. During my [initial] 18-day detainment I was subjected to intense torture. I was not allowed to sleep for days and I have been through all kinds of torture.
They told they were going to kill my brother and rape my sister. 22 years on, I still have the traces of this torture. One day, they took us to somewhere and gave us barrels [of fuel]. They had called the press too, they said I burned down the forests; it was said that I burned all the forests in Istanbul,” said Çomak during his trial, according to tweets posted by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Hilmi Yaraycı.
Asking for his client’s release, Çomak’s lawyer recalled retired Air Force Commander İbrahim Fırtına, Fenerbahçe Sports Club President Aziz Yıldırım and outlawed Islamic Great East Raiders Front (IBDA-C) leader Salih Mirzabeyoğlu, whose motions for new trials were all approved. “Is the law working different for some and working different for my client?” asked the lawyer.