Almost four years ago, in October 2008, activists Engin Çeber, Cihan Gün, and Aysu Baykal were arrested by Turkish officials during a protest condemning the shooting the previous year of another member of the Turkish Human Rights Association. Once in prison, they were soaked with icy water and beaten with iron rods and wooden truncheons. Witnesses recall that Baykal was beaten so brutally that she lay unconscious on the floor after the guards were done with her. Twenty-nine year old Engin Çeber was even more severely injured. He was transferred to a hospital, but Çeber died of a brain hemorrhage three days later.
In a 2010 landmark court decision, sixteen state officials associated with Çeber’s death were convicted for their participation in his torture and murder. However, these convictions were overturned on appeal and the case was returned to the local court for retrial. This second trial is scheduled to end in a verdict at the beginning of next month.