Police caught on video slapping woman

Dec. 12, 2011 at 3:46 PM
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ISTANBUL, Turkey, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Turkish police officers caught on video repeatedly slapping a woman and pulling her hair even after she was handcuffed should be punished, an official said.

The incident "is unacceptable and we definitely consider this incident as one for which the perpetrators should be punished," Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Sahin said in a statement.

Police-station video broadcast by Turkish TV stations Friday showed a heated argument from July 16 in a police-station office between two plainclothes officers and 37-year-old Fevziye Cengiz.

Cengiz was arrested at a nightclub in the western Turkish port city of Izmir and brought to the station.

After she yelled at one of three officers and pointed a finger at him, two of the men started slapping Cengiz in her face and yanking her hair. The third, in uniform, watched and, at one point, answered his cellphone, a United Press International review of the video indicated.

The silent video later showed the men wrestling Cengiz to the ground and forcing her underneath a desk as the uniformed third man occasionally stepped in to help restrain Cengiz.

After handcuffing Cengiz, the plainclothes officers held her against a wall and took turns pulling her hair and delivering open-handed blows to her face, including once with both hands simultaneously.

"There is political will and state authority to take the required action in a speedy way," Sahin's statement said. "Therefore, both legal and administrative investigations have been launched."

The men have been suspended, pending the investigations' results, the Izmir Police Department said Friday night.

A group of protesters gathered outside the police station Saturday, saying its response was inadequate and calling the incident and response "proof of state protection" of men who resort to violence against women.

"When I met my client almost a week later, she still had a black eye and there were other marks on her," Cengiz's lawyer, Hanife Yildirim, told CNN, adding she was arrested "with the excuse that she did not have her ID."

"She is facing up to six years imprisonment," Yildirim said. "The charge against the policemen is 'cause of injury through excessive force,' with up to 1.5 years' punishment."

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