Melike Demet Demir|
(? - living) Turkey
Transgender activist Melike Demir is one of eight transgender people who lodged official complaints of torture and ill-treatment against the police in Turkey. On 26 January 2001 the trial began of a chief commissioner accused of having tortured them in 1996 and 1997. The eight spoke of the threats they had been subjected to, apparently in order to make them withdraw their complaints.
Melike reported that she, the other plaintiffs and the representative of IHD who accompanied them, could not enter the court room, because a group of right-wing activists blocked their way and attacked them while shouting slogans in favour of Süleyman. The human rights defender confirmed this report and also reported that after the trial session a group of trade unionists joined in the attacks against the transvestites.
Eren Keskin, Chairperson of the Istanbul branch of the Human Rights Association, described how she had confronted the commissioner some years earlier about similar reports of torture against transgender people.
"He said, 'until today you were concerned about terrorists and now you deal with this lot, that are not human beings?' I told him that nobody deserved to be tortured."