Last updated: 19 September, 2012

Leftist musicians reportedly tortured by Turkish police

A lawyer for two female musicians from a left-wing band on Wednesday accused Istanbul police of torturing them with the aim of ending their careers.

Sema Altin, a singer, and Ezgi Dilan Balci, a violinist, both from Grup Yorum, were arrested last Friday in Istanbul, along with 25 other people after they demanded the return of the body of a suicide bomber who targeted a police station in Istanbul this month, killing one police officer.

The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), which the United States and the European Union list as a terrorist group, claimed responsibility for the September 11 attack.

Both musicians “were victims of torture from the very first moment of their arrest: they were thrown to the ground and were severely beaten,” their lawyer Taylan Tanay told AFP.

“What is striking is that Altin, the singer, was hit in both ears to the point of exploding her eardrums while she was handcuffed at the back. Balci, the violinist, had her arm crushed because she plays the violin,” said Tanay.

He said the two musicians were specifically tortured in a way that would end their careers, adding that he had lodged a complaint against the police.

Both women were freed on Tuesday pending trial.

Grup Yorum, founded in 1985, is known for its revolutionary songs.

The DHKP-C has since 1976 been behind numerous attacks against the Turkish state that have left dozens of people dead, including two retired generals and a former justice minister.