Journalist Dal calls 'no investigation' decision in strip search case unlawful

Journalist Dal calls 'no investigation' decision in strip search case unlawful


Journalist Esra Solin Dal, who was subjected to a strip search and held in solitary confinement for 24 days at Bakırköy Women’s Closed Prison after her arrest in Istanbul, has condemned the "no investigation" decision on her complaint as unlawful and vowed to appeal.

Dal, a reporter for Mezopotamya Agency (MA), along with fellow journalists Mehmet Aslan and Erdoğan Alayumat, was detained on April 23, 2024, during an Istanbul-based investigation and subsequently charged with "membership in a terrorist organization." They were released on May 21, after being held in custody for 24 days. During her detention, Dal reported being subjected to strip searches twice and held in a solitary cell for nearly a month. Her lawyer filed a complaint on May 14 with the Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding these violations.

Despite the complaint, the Bakırköy Women’s Closed Penal Institution Directorate claimed the searches were lawful and no strip searches occurred. The Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, after reviewing the complaint and the Directorate’s defense, concluded there was no crime or criminal element to investigate and decided not to proceed with the case.
Dal speaks out on her ordeal

Dal recounted her experience, stating she faced rights violations both in police custody and in prison. "When I was detained, I refused to participate in informal conversations (chats) with the police, leading to my isolation from my colleagues. This isolation continued in prison. Upon arrival at the prison, I was subjected to a so-called body search, which was not a standard procedure. A female and a male officer were present during the search, and I was left only in my underwear while they examined and recorded my clothes one by one. Afterward, six guards interrogated me, asking about my occupation. When I said I was a journalist, they insisted on conducting a 'detailed search,' which meant a strip search. Despite my objections and stating that it was illegal, they forced me into a cabin and subjected me to a strip search."
Dal's reaction to the decision

Dal denounced the "no investigation" decision as unlawful, emphasizing that strip searches are a serious violation of human rights, degrading, and damaging to human dignity. She stated:

"A strip search is a serious violation of human rights, regardless of whom it is conducted on. It is beyond psychological damage; it is degrading and humiliating. Filing a complaint through my lawyer resulted in a 'no investigation' decision. Besides the strip search, I was also confined to a cell without any legal basis. I filed petitions twice a week, requesting to be moved to a ward. The injustices faced by my journalist colleagues are similar to what I experienced. Almost every journalist in the Kurdish media faces trials and investigations. The articles that lead to these trials often address fundamental issues in Turkey, such as the Kurdish issue and isolation policies. Many journalists have recently been imprisoned. Practicing journalism in Turkey is extremely difficult, and the 'no investigation' decision epitomizes these challenges. Despite everything, we will not accept this injustice and will continue to report on human rights violations."

Dal intends to appeal the decision, maintaining her stance against the rights violations she endured.


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