Turkish lecturer Cemil Tekeli, who was released from a prison in Israel on Sunday, said he was stripped naked, interrogated incessantly for days and drugged during his almost one-month long torturous ordeal.
Israeli authorities detained Tekeli on Jan. 15 just before he was due to board a plane at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. The detention came after the assistant law professor from Istanbul Medeniyet University attended a program in Jerusalem on Jan. 11.
The exact reason for his detention remains unclear since Israeli courts and authorities refrained from issuing any statements on the case while Israeli authorities also rejected Anadolu Agency correspondent’s demand to follow his trial.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Tekeli said he became hopeless during his days in captivity and thought he would never be released from prison after Israel accused him of spying.
He recalled that his first interrogation lasted for more than two hours following which “Israeli police said: ‘We will not let you go. You are staying here with us.’ They started questioning me and then I do not remember the date, month and the day.”
His interrogations would continue for almost a month.
“They asked me thousands of questions. In the first two days, they said ‘Tell us what you know’. I didn’t tell anything.
“Then they showed me my pictures and other people they gathered from my Whatssapp, Facebook account and some others places that I had not ever seen before in my life. And then they said: ‘Tell us everything’.
“They showed me the photos of our President [Recep Tayyip Erdogan], some other [Turkish] state officials, and then the photos linked to the International Justice Union, of which I have been a member; the photos of my business trips and some meetings in some countries when I was appointed in the name of Turkish Republic were also shown to me.”
The academic said the Israeli authorities kept him in handcuffs.
Put in freezing room
“You cannot even stand with your back against the wall because of bad plastered. Your hands and feet are cuffed,” he recalled, adding that his cuffs were tightened further whenever he requested to loosen them.
Tekeli said he was repeatedly asked the same questions, on and on.
“Almost 16-17 people came every day and asked me the same questions every time. My eyes were sealed [blindfolded] and they were continuously taking me from one place to another.
“I used to hear people screaming, animal sounds. It was as if they had been tortured.”
He said he would face harsher conditions whenever he asked for a lawyer and or the Turkish ambassador.
“In the last room I was sent, I was all naked and they kept me waiting in handcuffs in freezing cold … Later they said they would take me to a room that they called VIP.
“At first, I thought it would be a better room. But that VIP room turned out to be like a fridge. The prisoners there used to call it ‘sellace’, which means fridge.”
Tekeli said the Israeli police also drugged him.
“One day, I was really exhausted after they had interrogated me for hours…Then I saw them giving me an injection. I tried to ask what they were doing and then I realized that there were two pills in my mouth. I could not focus on anything after that.”
He said later the Israeli officials claimed the drugs forcefully given to him were to prevent him from getting sick.