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April 4, 2001
12:41 AM   Subscribe

Fatima Polattas filed charges against Turkish police for raping her while she was in their custody; she's now facing charges for insulting the security forces and her country's moral integrity for talking about what happened to her, and could spend up to six years behind bars. This is easily the most disturbing thing I've read all day.
posted by lia (8 comments total)

 
pretty routine in a whole lot of "islamic countries." last year's beijing+5 women's conference in nyc published a whole lot of these lists. pakistan has a jail for women who "accused" their "husbands/village warlords/police" of raping them. the bangladesh govt. has yet to convict any of the police and the pet criminals of the political parties who routinely take women into custody (or kidnap) and rape them. last year in nigeria an unmarried woman was sentenced to 100+ lashes for "accusing noble men of having sex with her without any proof." she was pregnant and the judge postponed the sentence until she gave birth.

the irony of this story is, turkey has a "secular" government and had arrested a member of parliament for wearing hijab (the women's head cover) while she attended sessions. turkey had arrested and jailed prayer callers who called out for prayers in mosques. turkey dropped using arabic alphabets, citing that it was "religious" and "backwards" and adopted english alphabets. the turks had spent hundreds of years fine tuning the arabic alphabets, which did not have symbols for many common sounds. after so many times pissing in the face of anything "islamic," they are now resorting to some islamic laws regarding slander to take this rape victim to trial. ironic, isn't it?
posted by tamim at 1:15 AM on April 4, 2001


...and extremely horrible.

From what I have seen the Turkish state forces are very heavy handed even at the best of times.
posted by lagado at 1:34 AM on April 4, 2001


tamim: I don't think this has anything to do with Islam as such. The key to this story is the following paragraph:
"Ms Polattas was not at the conference. She is already in jail, serving 18 years for allegedly belonging to the Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK), the outlawed Kurdish rebel group that waged a 16-year war in southeast Turkey for greater autonomy for the country's estimated 12m Kurds. She denies being a member"
This is part of the undeclared war of extermination waged against the Kurds. The Turkish government's position is that only the PKK is involved in atrocities and that Turkish Army and Police forces are innocent victims. Thus not to charge Fatima Polattas would be to actually accept its involvement in large (very large) scale atrocities- basically to what amounts to ethnic cleansing in the area. The problem is political not religious. Which doesn't make it any less horrid of course.
To be fair if, a Turkish woman (not in Turkish Kurdistan) leveled similar charges against the police (with no political connotations), I am sure that the reaction would not be the same. Turkey is a secular country and I don't think rapists in general get off lightly there.
posted by talos at 2:17 AM on April 4, 2001


This most certainly has to do with the situation between Turkey and the Kurdish minority in the eastern part of the country. Most Turks consider this part of the country in a state of civil war --or a close proximity thereof. I am sure if anything similar happened in the western part (Aegean Coast, Istanbul) the state's reaction would be different.

Shameless self-plug: I maintain a Greek-Turkish weblog.
posted by costas at 3:21 AM on April 4, 2001


Interesting, if small, similarities to this story, in which Solano County, California, police are developing a habit of suing anyone who files a complaint against them.
posted by Mo Nickels at 3:39 AM on April 4, 2001


I think Singapore's Lee Kwan Yew may have invented that technique.
posted by lagado at 5:40 AM on April 4, 2001


talos: "I don't think this has anything to do with Islam as such....The problem is political not religious. Which doesn't make it any less horrid of course.
To be fair if, a Turkish woman (not in Turkish Kurdistan) leveled similar charges against the police (with no political connotations), I am sure that the reaction would not be the same. Turkey is a secular country and I don't think rapists in general get off lightly there."


i agree that this is "political" and not religious. but, none the less, it is a abuse of laws that traces back to islamic sharia. i did not mean to imply that there is anything wrong with islam or muslims. i was just pointing out the obvious hypocrisy where a country can reject almost all of islamic practices, yet, when its favorable to them, they will run to hide behind laws that they routinely reject.

most conflicts are indeed POLITICAL. (and - just to add, raped women have very little legal shield - if any - in ANY COUNTRY. even in america, rapists have more rights than the raped woman.)

btw, in most "islamic countries" rape is a capital crime, punishable by death penalty.
posted by tamim at 8:57 AM on April 4, 2001


tamim:btw, in most "islamic countries" rape is a capital crime, punishable by death penalty.
Total agreement here, I did not suggest that you said that there was something wrong with islam, my point was that this has less to do with the sharia and more with political terror, as in, say, Videla's Argentina, were women prisoners were routinely raped by their torturers.
posted by talos at 9:22 AM on April 4, 2001


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