A few days ago AI Turkey projected the words “Hakan Yaman’a ne oldu?” (“What happened to Hakan Yaman?) on the front of Istanbul’s main courthouse and on Galata Tower, an Istanbul landmark. (See the video here.)
Actually, Amnesty International knows what happened to Hakan.
At around 10.30 – 11pm on June 3rd, Hakan Yaman was returning to his home in Istanbul after finishing work as a minibus driver. He parked his vehicle a couple of streets away from his house and proceeded to walk home. A demonstration was taking place on the nearby Demokrasi Avenue.
In his own words, this is what he told Amnesty International about what happened next:
I saw some riot police a few hundred meters away. I was first sprayed by water cannon. Then I was hit in the stomach with a tear gas canister and I fell down. Around five police officers came over and began hitting me repeatedly on around the head. One of them put a hard object into my eye and gauged the eye out. By then I was lying down, without moving. I heard one of them say ‘this one is finished, let’s completely finish him off’. They dragged me about 10 to 20 meters and threw me onto a fire. They left and I dragged myself out of the fire. I was then taken by some of the protestors to the hospital.
According to a forensic medical report, his nose, his cheek bone, and the bones of his forehead and his chin were broken. He lost one eye completely and has lost 80 percent of his sight in the other eye. His skull was fractured from the top of his head all the way down to his jaw and his back sustained second degree burns from being thrown on the fire.
Six months have passed, but despite Amnesty’s repeated calls for an end to police impunity in Turkey, and a recent report by the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner highlighting police violence, still no one has been held responsible for the horrific assault on Hakan.
Take action on Hakan’s behalf. Here are some sample tweets: