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Journalist's finger broken in confrontation with police

(BIANET/IFEX) - Vahap İş, a reporter for the "Hedef" newspaper and the Dicle News Agency (DİHA), filed a criminal complaint at the Nusaybin Prosecutor's Office against police officers who were responsible for beating and arresting him on 25 July 2010 in Nusaybin, in the southeastern province of Mardin.

In his petition for redress, the journalist argued that, subsequent to his arrest, he was taken to the District Police Directorate and that one of his fingers was broken when the police took his camera away from him. He also claimed that he had been insulted. İş received a certificate for 10 days' sick leave.

On 25 July, the journalist was going to cover a demonstration in Nusaybin over torture allegations relating to the bodies of members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). İş recorded footage with his camera showing police officers beating a child. In the course of the incident, the police apparently also confronted İş and seized his equipment.

İş stated that he was also insulted and cursed at at the police station. He was able to take back his equipment but the police illegally seized the footage and kept his voice recorder, he said.

"There was an uproar on Şirin Avenue between the police forces and children. I started recording. Then a plainclothes police officer punched my camera. I continued shooting footage of one of the children who was about to be arrested. The police officers walked towards me and started cursing at me and denigrating me. I said that I am a journalist. I followed the officers who continued to beat the child. They tried to get hold of my footage. I told them I would not hand them what I had recorded without a directive from the prosecutor. The anti-riot forces grabbed the strap of my camera. Then they linked arms with me and took me to a side street. They cursed at me and pulled my hair, kicked me and started beating me. Four or five policemen tried to take my camera," İş explained.

"I told them that their actions were not legal and that I would not hand my camera over to them without a directive from the prosecutor. They then started to use force. When I did not let go of my camera, they bent my finger and took the camera," he added.

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