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Suspicious Death of 11 Year Old Rabia Naz

11 year old Rabia Naz was found wounded in front of her house on April 13, 2018 and died in the hospital she was taken for medical care. Her father Şaban Vatan claimed that she died due to a car crash which was made to look like a suicide case. It was also claimed that the crash was related to the nephew of the former AKP mayor of Giresun’s Eynesil and the suspects are still not enlightened. Child’s death remains suspicious while journalists investigating the case are being pressured.

Initial statement about the case came from Giresun Chief Public Prosecutor Abdurrahim Alan, telling that the investigation was still ongoing and enlightment of the case and the collection of evidence was continuing. Later, it was decided that 60 witnesses would testify again and an investigation started towards the police that investigated the crime scene in the first place.

Upon Rabia Naz’s father’s “inspector investigation” request, Council of Judges and Prosecutors started an investigation.

The rights of both parties in the case to investigate and to gather samples from the documents were limited by Görele Public Prosecution, with the reason that it could endanger the purpose of the investigation. Moreover, the secrecy over the case was lifted on November 8th.

CONNECTION OF THE MINISTRY OF DEFENCE WITH THE INVESTIGATION

Independent Journalist Metin Cihan announced that Şaban Vatan was called back to the police department upon complaint from Minister of National Defence Nurettin Canikli.

Moreover, Şaban Vatan, father of Rabia Naz Vatan, got hospitalised in Samsun mental hospital due to complaints from former AKP Giresun Eynesil Mayor Coşkun Somuncuoğlu and Ministry of Defence Nurettin Canikli. Regarding the decision, “Nurettin Canilkli covered up the death of a child in Eynesil (where Rabia Naz lost her life). And should be held accountable”, Şaban Vatan commented.

Nurettin Canikli told that the lawsuits opened against Şaban Vatan were due to slanders and insults and not about the investigation of Rabia Naz’s death. However, Şaban Vatan filled a lawsuit against Nurettin Canikli for effecting the investigation process.

FORENSIC REPORTS OF THE CASE

First report from Istanbul Forensic Medicine Institution on death of Rabia Naz, indicated that the scars on Rabia Naz’s body ‘could happen from falling off a height’. In addition, Trabzon Forensic Medicine’s report, revealed that there is a male DNA in Rabina Naz’s nail which according to Şaban Vatan’s lawyer, is a sign of struggle.

Later on, Giresun Public Prosecutor’s Office stated that Rabia Naz’s father Şaban Vatan rejected blood samples being taken from him, after which Şaban Vatan gave DNA samples upon orders from prosecutor and the given samples were taken to Trabzon Forensic Medicine Institiute.

Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu, who previously called the father of Rabia Naz and assured him that the case of her death would continue to be investigated, stated that “the forensic department has given a decision, saying ‘it is due to a fall’ after their inspection” and added, “we haven’t come across any evidence based on the statements as the father claimed”.

The samples sent by Rabia Naz’s father were reviewed by Trabzon Forensic Institiute and was concluded that the DNA sample matched with those on Rabia’s body.

DESTRUCTION OF THE ABANDONED HOUSE AND A CHANGE IN TESTIMONY

After the police investigation revealing that the shavings and straws found on Rabia Naz’s body matched with those in the abandoned house, the building on the crime scene was demolished.

On the other hand, Mürsel Küçükal, who discovered the body of Rabia Naz, changed his testimony he gave a year before. Küçükal claimed that Rabia Naz was dragged by her father to the abandoned building.

Giresun Governorship later announced that Şaban Vatan was arrested for “threatening Mürsel Küçükal for changing his testimony”.

JAILED JOURNALISTS

Journalist Metin Cihan, who brought up the suspicious death of Rabia Naz, told that a new lawsuit was filed against him. On September 10th 2019, the independent journalist announced that he had to leave Turkey on his Twitter account.

On another occasion, journalist Canan Coşkun and documentarist Kazım Kızıl were arrested in Giresun’s Eynesil district while reporting on the investigation. Şaban Vatan and the two journalists were released afterwards, while widespread solidarity had been declared for them from journalists across Turkey.

PROTESTS FROM CIVIC ORGANISATIONS

Women’s Councils -a woman’s rights organisation in Turkey- held protests in 48 provinces across Turkey, including Giresun where Rabia Naz lost her life. Whereas, United Strong Women -another woman’s rights organisation in Turkey- held a protest in İzmir province.

There were other protests from different organisations such as, IDA Solidarity Association and Eşpedal Bicycle Association that held a gathering in front of The Justice Statue in Çanakkale to commemorate Rabia Naz and to support her father’s struggle for justice.

PARTY STATEMENTS

One of the first statements came from Konya representative of Saadet Party, Abdulkadir Karaduman, stating that “many questions raised by Rabia Naz’s father wanted to bring up to the agenda, but current institutions and the media establishment in Turkey does not allow it”.

Meanwhile, main opposition CHP chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu added, “[To prosecutors] Your job is to bring up the evidence, not to tarnish them”.

PARLIAMENTARY PROCESS

Contrary to the claims indicating his involvement with the allegations of car crash, Minister of National Defence Nurettin Canikli gave a parliamentary motion regarding the death of Rabia Naz.

While Peoples’ Democratic Party HDP’s motion for an investigation regarding the case was rejected by governing AKP and government ally MHP, a Parliamentary Investigation Committee was formed.

Parliamentary Investigation Committee held its first meeting to determine the measures for child deaths, notably for Rabia Naz. However, all parties, , including MHP, displayed their frustration over the members of Parliamentary Investigation Committee’s council which is all formed by governing AKP members.

Parliamentary Investigation Committee and CHP member Sevda Erdan Kılıç, told that secrecy over the case has been lifted and Parliamentary Investigation Committee member HDP representative Filiz Kerestecioğlu commented “unrealistic claims of the governorship strenghtens the suspicions about Rabia Naz’s death being whitewashed”.

On November 22th former AKP Eynesil Mayor Coşkun Somuncuoğlu, whom Şaban Vatan claimed had crashed Rabia Naz, gave his statement to the Parliamentary Investigation Committee, formed to investigate the death of Rabia Naz, and put forward that Rabia could have taken her life by playing ‘The Blue Whale’ game.

by Nevzat Ahrar