The Village of Şenlik in Diyarbakır province Turkey
On September 28 Ceylan Önkol went out to tend the family sheep as her mother prepared macaroni for her. According to villagers there was a sound in the air followed by an explosion, shortly thereafter Ceylan (whose ages been reported as 12 and 14) was found dead with her midsection shredded. Body parts were scattered over 150 m with some landing in the branches of nearby trees. Despite the massive damage to her midsection witnesses say her legs and feet as well as her arms, hands and head were relatively uninjured.
The authorities were contacted and the family waited at the scene for what they expected to be military security forces, a doctor, and the local prosecutor. Security forces did not arrive, after six hours of waiting the family was informed that the doctor and prosecutor would also not be coming because they feared for their safety. The village Imam had been instructed to take photographs of the scene and the family was asked to gather the girl’s remains and bring them to the police station in Bingöl province where an autopsy could be performed. According to local protocol the prosecutors should have conducted the autopsy at the scene.
Önkol’s brother, Rıfat Önkol said:
“The village headman called; we wanted soldiers and the prosecutor. The prosecutor said he could not come because it was not safe. Soldiers did not come either. The prosecutor told the imam to take pictures.”
According to the Human Rights Association, a local NGO, the prosecutor did arrive three days later to conduct an investigation; they went on to say that this might have only been in response to public pressure.
Ceylan Önko’s mother said:
“My Ceylan was torn to pieces. Why was my child killed for no reason? Who is going to answer for this?”
It has also been reported that not only did the prosecutor not properly conduct the autopsy but also the doctor who did allowed janitors to participate.
The family, local media, and NGOs believe that a mortar round, possibly fired from a nearby military base, hit Ceylen. This is primarily based on the reports of the noise in the air before the explosion and the lack of injuries to her upper and lower body.
As of October 11 it was being reported that the case was being investigated as a terror crime, however, the final report found otherwise. The results of the official investigation were released this week and deny the claims that a mortar round hit Ceylan. The investigation has concluded that she detonated unexploded ordnance that had been left in the area at some previous time.
The family and NGOs alike have questioned the results of this investigation due to the initial lack of response, unorthodox autopsy, and the pattern of injuries. The Human Rights Association has gone so far as to say that they believe she may have been targeted:
“Due to the Forensic Examination Record Ceylan Önkol was not badly injured at her head, her arms and her legs. Whereas when stepping on a mine or another explosive, bad injuries of the legs would eminently occur. If a found explosive sets off because it was monkeyed with, serious injuries of the arms in particular would occur. However, according to the forensic examination record, serious injuries of Ceylan Önkols abdomen caused her death.”
“It is possible that an explosive hits the abdominal region. That is to say, the explosive has to be fired from somewhere, targeting Ceylan Önkol”.
As many as 40 NGOs and other organizations have joined in a campaign demanding that the details of the investigation be released.