By Bayram Altug
GENEVA (AA) - Members of the PKK terror group in Switzerland have subjected a local man to "torture," and "cruel treatment" over suspicions that he was informing Turkish authorities of their connections, according to a local daily on Sunday.
The victim, who changed his name to Aydin K. and works in a pizzeria in the town of Biel just northwest of the capital Bern, was interrogated for more than six hours by six PKK members, who threatened to kill him, said the Berner Zeitung report by journalist Kurt Pelda.
An indictment prepared by the prosecution said the six PKK members committed crimes including "cruel treatment," "torture," "forced confession," and "beating" in the restaurant's cellar in May 2019, said the report which also touched on alleged complicity between Swiss authorities and the PKK.
The PKK members reportedly accused Aydin K. of providing Turkish authorities with the name of the pizzeria's owner, who was detained in Turkiye for alleged links to the PKK -- a claim the victim denies.
They allegedly locked a barefoot Aydin K. in the restaurant's freezer room twice for about 10 minutes each, the report said, citing the indictment. It added that they repeatedly threatened to "break all his bones, dismember him, and leave him in the freezer until the next morning."
According to the report, the PKK members also showed him photos of his children and threatened to harm his family.
- 2 of 6 suspects fled Switzerland
Deniz D., a so-called senior member of the terror group in Switzerland, threatened Aydin K. in a bid to manipulate him to confess to their accusations and cooperate.
Also the head of its so-called "torture unit," Deniz D. reportedly brandished a knife that he said he would use on the victim, who one of the suspects injured with a stab in the calf.
Four of the six suspects who took part in the torture were put on trial, while Deniz D. and one more unidentified person fled the country.
Describing the measures taken by Swiss authorities in the case as "questionable," the report blamed officials for the escape of Deniz D. and the other fugitive, who is also thought to be one of the terrorist organization's so-called top members.
Saying their escape was "not a coincidence," journalist Pelda said: "Outraged by the incident in the pizzeria, a federal authority contacted the Swiss PKK leadership and issued a warning. Then, Deniz D. quickly packed his bags and disappeared abroad."
"The responsible public prosecutor from Biel initially only ordered a nationwide manhunt, and so Deniz D. was able to escape. There are many signs that the authorities did not want to expose the PKK too openly," said the report.
Switzerland's lack of recognition of PKK as a terrorist organization has attracted criticism as the country has become a "safe haven" for the terrorists.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkiye, the US and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.