Looking for Justice











Our son, Onur Yaser was captured by Istanbul Narcotic Branch Office Teams on the grounds that he bought drugs in Harbiye on June 2, 2010. Yet, when the police teams captured Onur Yaser, they did not capture the drug dealer, whose identity they knew, on purpose when the police testimonies are considered. This was completely irrational and ridiculous investigation technique. Testimony of Onur Yaser was taken when there was no defense lawyer at the moment. Although the phone number of his family was written on his testimony and it was a constitutional requirement to do so, we, his father and mother were not informed. Entrance Medical Report was not obtained to determine his physical and psychological health status although Yaser was captured by force and it was a constitutional requirement to do so. Although there was no custody decision of the prosecutor, it is illegal to even supervise people who are not under custody and to do detailed body search, Onur Yaser was put into custody, he was stripped naked and exposed to torture and sexual abuse, meanwhile he was made to listen to the voice of a young person begging the police in agony, he was insulted, slapped and forced to whistleblowing.

The examination made by the Exit Medical Report obtained after torture is made in front of the police officers who tortured him although it is not meant to and it was a legal requirement, physical and psychological health status was not fully examined and Exit Medical Report was arranged unlawfully against the Capture and Custody Legislation and Istanbul Protocol. In spite of the release order of the prosecutor, Onur Yaser was taken to police station once more by the torturer police officers and was kept there for a while. No copy of testimonies and minutes arranged and signed by Onur Yaser was delivered to him when he was released on purpose to make him feel in doubt. Then, the mentioned testimony and minutes were wanted to be changed in a planned way.

Hence, the day after this incident Onur Yaser was captured, on June 3, 2010. He was called to police station for the second time by phone with the trick of “correcting the date error” in the testimony and minutes he signed. When he went to the police station, some additions were made to the testimony and minutes he was made to sign. He was threatened in a dark, dim environment; and was made to sign a new testimony and minutes. No copy of the new testimony and minutes which he was made to sign by force was given to him again to make him feel in doubt.  Because he did not want to tell where he learned the telephone number of the drug dealer; he was watched closely by an assigned team of police officers step by step, while his telephone was being listened during that time.

            After these developments, Onur Yaser consulted a lawyer being very doubtful; he gave a power of attorney. Narcotic police did not want to give the testimony and minutes to his lawyer who went to the police station to have copies of his testimony and minutes on the grounds that “there was confidentiality order on the file. His testimony and “Substance Weighing Minute” were given to the lawyer as a consequence of his insistence and his demand to file a petition and see their director. But the signature of the deputy captain police officer was not on the testimony minute which was taken twice. Besides, although there was a legal requirement that a captured person cannot be captured again due to the same subject without the written demand of the relevant Public Prosecutor and his testimony cannot be taken, Onur Yaser was called to Narcotic Branch for the third time to give testimony.

            In the evening when Onur Yaser was going to give testimony for the third time and he had a possibility to be captured again, Onur Yaser threw himself from the window of his room located on the third floor of the apartment he lived, and he was found bare naked on June 23, 2010 at 10:00 PM. Our son, who was alive when he was first found on the ground, passed away because the ambulance came late, the first hospital he was taken sent him to another hospital and a timely intervention was not made in the second hospital.

A couple of hours before Onur Yaser tried to end his life, he wanted us to come to Istanbul, he told us that he was in trouble and he could not tell his problem on the phone. When we arrived to Istanbul at about 03:00 AM in the morning we learned that we lost our son. Forensic Medicine certified that Onur Yaser died of internal bleeding.

His friends and his boss witnessed that Onur Yaser became inpatient, nervous, silent, his working concentration was disturbed and he was depressed. According to what Onur Yaser told to his friends and a half note he wrote in his handwriting one day before he tried to take his own life, he was stripped naked in the police station despite the release order of prosecutor, he was insulted and he was forced to give testimony about other people. He told one of his friends one day before his death that: “I was stripped naked after I was captured. They wanted me to lean against wall. I was made to cough; I was waited squatting for a while. Meanwhile I was made to listen to the voice of a person begging to police and crying. I was slapped, insulted verbally. One of the police officers called me to police station by phone and I was made to sign a different testimony from my previous one. I was told to snitch.” His friend said in his testimony in the file that “He was having difficulty in talking to me. He was crying his eyes out. What he said was barely understood. He said he was threatened to sign the testimony.”



            The day we lost our son, we made a denunciation about the police stating that they caused our son’s death by torturing and abusing him sexually and keeping him under an inhumane psychological pressure. We also made denunciations about Şişli Etfal Education and Research Hospital, Okmeydanı Education and Research Hospital and Istanbul 112 City Ambulance Service Chief Physician employees on the grounds that they performed medical intervention not on time. The investigation about police officers lasted approximately 11 months in Fatih Public Prosecution Office. In this duration, the Public Prosecutor conducting the investigation was changed three times. Although the file had a confidentiality decision only on the computer image records of Istanbul Police Department Narcotic Branch Directorate, the lawyers were prevented from accessing the progression of the file by the date for a long time as if there were a confidentiality decision on the complete set of files. Upon request of the Prosecution, yet contrary to our demand, the legal experts who examined the police station entrance/exit cameras instead of those of the custody room for the date which is 1.5 months after the date of the incident, stated that they could not find any records indicating torture, sexual abuse and ill treatment to Onur Yaser?!. The Public Prosecutor Muammer Akkaş, who completed the investigation, decided to give nolle prosequi about 4 police officers for the crime of torture upon this report of the so called legal experts. Prosecutor stated that “certain and convincing proofs could not be obtained except non-physical claims.”



Regarding the claim at the beginning of our plot, the documents that Onur Yaser signed on June 04, 2010 or June 05, 2010 showed as if they were arranged and signed on June 02, 2010 when Onur Yaser was taken into custody, “sufficient doubt” was found and summary of proceedings was arranged by Prosecution and sent to Istanbul Public Prosecution. Istanbul Public Prosecutor arranged a bill of indictment and took action for 2 police officers for forgery of the documents. First trial of the case was held in Istanbul 6th High Criminal Court on July 15 2011.

            Nolle prosequi regarding the sexual abuse and torture claims was based on a legal expert report in which no sufficient and efficient investigation was conducted along with other proofs in the file. Even our objections regarding the dates of the records were not enlightened, Custody room camera records were not released but only the camera records of different dates in the entrance-exit points of Istanbul Police Station Narcotic Branch Directorate were investigated.

            In spite of the unbelievably contradictory statements of police officers, for whom nolle prosequi was given, one of them said that Onur Yaser’s body was searched naked but he did not see if “he was tortured or not”, the other one said “he personally made the naked body search with his fellow police officer but he behaved kindly” and the fellow officer said “his friend made the naked body search but he did not participate”. All these statements aroused an opinion of inefficient and insufficient investigation of denunciation in us and in our lawyers that the nolle prosequi was based on the investigation report of camera records for which even we have objections filed about the record dates, in the exit/entrance points of the Narcotic Branch Directorate instead of the custody room where full naked body search was made Therefore we made our objections for the nolle prosequi about the torture, bad treatment and sexual abuse claims about the police officers who captured Onur Yaser to İstanbul Beyoğlu High Criminal Vacation Court at the hands of our Lawyer Ercan Kanar.

            Regarding our legal complaint that emergency medical aid and attention were not given to our son Onur Yaser Can, our lawyers applied to the District Administrative Court because the governorship of Istanbul did not give permission for investigation about the doctors. After our objection was accepted byDistrict Administrative Court, Governorship performed a preliminary examination and they decided that a second investigation was not necessary as a result of the preliminary examination. Again we made our objections to District Administrative Court for this resistance decision of the Administration via our Lawyers. Administrative Court reversed the judgment of resistance of the Governorship about not giving permission for investigation, they decided on investigation and sent the file to jurisdiction.

            In our process of justice seeking for our son’s violated right to live, we made complaints to SEVEN institutions which works in the field of enabling people to use their Basic Human Rights and Freedoms in the country and abroad, and these institutions are; Human Rights Directorate of the Prime Ministry, Grand National Assembly of Turkey Human Rights Examination and Research Commission, Human Rights Association, European Council Committee for Preventing Torture, United Nations Violence Private Reporter, United Nations Human Rights High Commissariat and United Nations Working Group for Arbitrary Detention.


In our application letters, we emphasized the subjects defined below as well as the subjects defined above.

·         Does the fact that the Police officers who made our son ashamed of what he had done by torture, bad treatment, sexual abuse and inhumane psychological pressure and did not capture/arrest the drug dealers whom they could easily be caught at the moment of capturing mean that these officers used a self-evident duty and authorization?

·         Why a person whose testimony was taken before was called for testimony for the second and third time although it was against the law? Was the relevant Public Prosecutor informed about this situation?

·         Did the relevant Public Prosecutor know this?

·         Is this situation an evidence that Onur Yaser was wanted to make a part of a dirty game planned to be played?

·         Was Onur Yaser, who could easily be proved only to be a "user" followed, stressed, threatened, pushed to give names and forced to be an informer by telling him “you are inside a huge drug operation file” by the Narcotic Branch officers?

·         Did Onur Yaser tried to say “You killed me” to the Narcotic Branch Officers who stripped him fully naked and tortured and to those who psychologically tortured him during the 22 days until his death by committing suicide by jumping from the window fully naked?


            Even if it was proved in the jurisdiction that our son, who was raised by much efforts, who was in the very age to serve his country, who was very clever, who was a painter, a musician, a sculptor, a sportsman, who was very successful in architecture and who would increase his success even more possessed 11.4 grams of drugs, he could have benefited from supervised release and preventive measurement which were his legal right within the frame of legality of punishments principle, he could have lived his life as a healthy young man, he could have lived several beautiful things and love, he could have created several unique creations. How did the fact that the process causing him to take his own life was deemed proper for him by the Security Officers of the State experienced in our country, which is in “advanced democracy” as our honorable Prime Minister keeps on saying?



I- The first trial of the case was held in Istanbul 6th High Criminal Court on July 15, 2011. Istanbul Public Prosecutor opened this trial of the case for two police officers in the Istanbul Narcotic Branch Directorate for the crime of “forgery of official documents” by arranging a bill of indictment.

            In the trial held in Sultan Ahmet Court House 6th High Criminal Court, police officer suspect Salih Bahar and police officer suspect Soner Gündoğdu who were  commissioned officers in Istanbul Fight Against Narcotic Crimes Branch Directorate stood trial. They said that they called our son to the Police Station the day after he was released, they only changed the date and registration numbers in Onur’s testimony and NO OTHER change or correction was made in the content of the testimony. They reported that they took Onur Yaser Can to the police station but they did not take the drug dealer at the moment of capture. They did not arrange any minutes about calling Onur to the Police Station again, they did not get entrance medical report and they did not arrange a document about destroying the previous testimony of Onur Yaser.

            We, Onur’s Father and mother and our daughter participated in the trial as complainants. We emphasized that this incident was not only a simple forgery crime, it caused our son’s death, and therefore this incident had to be investigated thoroughly. We declared that our son was taken into custody because of possessing drugs, yet he was kept under pursuit until the day he tried to take his own life.

We stated that it is understood from the people our son talked to and the note he wrote that he was treated in a degrading, inhumane way in the police station, he was stripped naked and made to kneel, cough and he was humiliated. We told that he was the most beautiful son and brother in the world; he would never think of taking his own life, they caused us to lose him because of the inhumane events, violations of his rights and law they made him to experience and we filed complaint about the suspects and demanded them to be punished.

            Second trial of the said case will be held in Çağlayan Court House Istanbul in November 22, 2011 Tuesday at 10:50 AM. Trials are open to public. We request your support for the activities about participation to trial and we want you to support us in our justice seeking struggle for our Onur Yaser and not to leave us and our son alone in this long road which is loaded with our deep sorrow, filled with slippery rocks.


II- We made objection to the decision of Fatih Public Prosecution that there was no reason for prosecution in our denuncination about the police officers who captured our son for “aggravated torture by result, malpractice, sexual assault” to Istanbul Beyoğlu Vacation High Criminal Court on June 16, 2011 through our lawyer Ercan Kanar. Our objection was transferred to Beşiktaş High Criminal Court due to the re-arrangement of court houses in Istanbul and integrations. We are still waiting for the decision to be made by the court about our objection.


III- Regarding our complaint that emergency medical aid and attention was not given to our son Onur Yaser Can, our lawyers applied to the District Administrative Court because the governorship of Istanbul did not give permission for investigation about the doctors. After our objection was accepted by the District Administrative Court, Governorship performed a preliminary examination and they decided that a second investigation was not necessary as a result of the preliminary examination. Again we made our objections to the District Administrative Court for this resistance decision of the Administration via our Lawyer Ercan Kanar on July 7, 2011.   


Istanbul District Administrative Court accepted our objection and decided on reversing the decision made by the Governor to “not to give permission for investigation” and giving investigation permission about the doctors involved in the process in Şişli Etfal Education and Research Hospital, Okmeydani Education and Research Hospital and the commissioned health personnel in City Ambulance Service Şişli 4th Emergency Aid Station and the file was sent to Şişli Public Prosecution.



National Institutions

4.1- Our Application to the Human Rights Directorate of Prime Ministry

No response was given to our complaint application from Prime Ministry yet.


4.2- Our Application to Grand National Assembly of Turkey Human Rights Investigation Commission

We made our complaint application to Commission in December 2010. On January 13, 2011 we got a response from the commission declaring that “there was not a process to be performed in accordance with the Human Rights Investigation Law number 3686, it would be appropriate for us to apply to prosecution if we had an evidence regarding our complaint”.

In the letter we received from commission on April 8, 2010, it was stated that the Commission demanded information from Istanbul Governorship regarding the administrative investigation about the personnel who could be delinquent in our son’s death, upon our application. In the response coming from Istanbul Governorship to Commission, it was stated that the complainant, victim, personnel for whom investigation had been performed, crime date, event titles and data are kept in the records of City Police Headquarters records and when search is made in the records with these titles no investigation record was found, if detailed information was given regarding the subject a re-investigation could be made.


4.3- Our Complaint Application to Human Rights Association

4.3.1  It was stated in the letter we received from Governorship of İstanbul City Police Headquarters on March 21, 2011 that; required process was started based upon our complaint application dated December 1, 2010 comprising various claims about the officers commissioned in Istanbul Police Headquarters we sent to Human Rights Association Headquarters (HRAH) and we would be informed about the result.

At the end of March 2011, HRAH General Secretary informed us that the Security General Directorate informed them about the commencement of the administrative investigation about the death of our Onur Yaser Can. Again at the end of March 2011, two chief police supervisors commissioned by Security General Directorate called us and took our testimony based on complaint as father and mother. Police chief supervisors also appealed to the testimonies of the witnesses in Istanbul.

By November 2011, we learned that the report regarding the investigation was almost ready and it was going to be sent to the Disciplinary Board of Security General Directorate in a short time. Disciplinary Board of Security General Directorate was going to make the decision about the disciplinary penalty in accordance with the results of the administrative investigation about police officers involved in the process of our Onur Yaser’s being made to lose his life.

The decision of the Disciplinary Board was going to be notified to us as victim’s parents because our son was made to lose his life, his right to live was taken from him and also to the Human Rights Association Headquarters who carried our sorrow to the Security General Directorate based on our complaint to their Association. We still have not had information regarding the result of the administrative investigation.


 4.3.2 Within the frame of our application to HRAH, Ayla Akat Ata, MP Batman gave a written parliamentary question numbered 2386 on March 28, 2011 to the Speakership before the General Election of June 12, 2011.


International Institutions

4.4- Our Application to European Council Committee for the Prevention of Torture

Based on our complaint to the European Council Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), we had a quick response from the Secretariat of Committee. They stated that they examined our application with a great attention. They stated that they examine the violations of rights of the individuals as indicators of a more general problem as the committee did not have jurisdiction in individual complaints. They stated that the committee visits the places where violations of basic rights were realized, they control the way the people deprived of their freedom are treated and they took measures to protect those people from bad treatment when necessary. In this context, they stated they were going to take a close interest in the process of taking Onur Yaser Can’s right to live from him and they submit what our Onur Yaser went through to the attention of committee members.


4.5   Our Applications to:

       a- United Nations Violence Special Reporter

       b- United Nations Human Rights High Commissariat

       c- United Nations Working Group for Arbitrary Detention

According to the procedures of UN, response to our complaint applications to three separate UN institutions is not given to the applicants. UN institutions write a warning letter to the governments of the countries of the citizens making complaints directly. Therefore we did not get a response. We do not know whether the government had a warning or not.



Mother:  Hatice CAN         

Father: Mevlüt CAN