Man upset at seeing girls cycling without Hijab, slaps one on her head. Coming soon to a neighborhood near you“, stated Tarek Fatah while posting a video of 3 young girls who were bicycling and a stranger assaults one of the girls. At the time of writing, Tarek Fatah’s tweet has been retweeted over 6000 times. The link to the video that he posted was borrowed from another Twitter account called JPY_Kurdish. The original claim about the girl being slapped for not wearing a Hijab was made in this account. Is that the actual story? Let’s find out.

Screenshot of Tarek Fatah's tweet
Screenshot of Tarek Fatah’s tweet

There is very little English reportage on this issue. A website called Liveleaks posted about it and a Twitter account called Turkey Deeply posted about it as well. However, neither of these are authoritative sources.

Since, we could not find any authoritative information from any English sites, we scourged Turkish sites for information about the aforesaid issue. We found multiple reports on this issue (Links – 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5) which we tried to understand using Google Translate and re-confirmed our research via an acquaintance who understands Turkish.

The actual story is that a 9 year old girl was assaulted in the month of February 2017 in a province called Samsun in Turkey. She was hit very hard on the back of her head by either a stone or a piece of wood after which she fell down and fainted and the man fled the scene. She was taken to the hospital and is reportedly in good health now. At that point of time, a police complaint was filed and the footage from a security camera was recovered which captured the act of this girl being assaulted. 2 months later, in the month of April, the same person was arrested for harassing another woman at a bus-stand. Based on security camera footage, it was determined that the person who had assaulted the 9-year-old girl riding the bicycle is the same person caught for harassing the woman at the bus-stand. Reportedly, the accused is a construction worker and his name is Osman Ç.

The issue became a much debated subject in the last 24-48 hours as the man was released from jail and referred to a mental health facility. It was determined by medical tests that the accused was not mentally sound. Such an assault under Turkish Penal Code usually carries a sentence of 13-20 years of jail sentence. Since the man was allegedly guilty of at-least two cases of assault and harassment, locals were angry about the man being let off with such a light jail sentence. The chief public prosecutor of Samsun had to issue a press release because of a public perception building up that the accused was going scot-free despite the serious nature of the crime. A copy of the statement can be seen below.

Based on current reports, there is no evidence to show that the 9-year-old girl was assaulted for not wearing a Hijab. Moreover, the video came into public domain in the last 24 to 48 hours because of the outrage by locals and the same being reported by multiple Turkish outlets. It would seem that Mr Tarek Fatah has not cared to check the antecedents of the video/story before posting it on his Twitter account.