26 May 2019:
Amnesty International campaigns for detainees in southeast Turkey over torture claims
Amnesty International's Turkey branch has launched a campaign calling for "independent medical examination" for detainees in the country's southeastern Halfeti district following severe human rights violations reports.
"Twenty-five people are still kept under detention by Şanlıurfa Counter-Terrorism Branch and these people are under threat of torture and maltreating. Detainees should immediately be provided independent medical examination," rights group Amnesty International said on Saturday.
After an armed conflict between Turkish police and the alleged members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on May 18, one police officer died. Fifty-four people were detained as a part of an investigation launched by prosecutors in the southeastern city of Şanlıurfa's Halfeti district.
Şanlıurfa Bar Association Human Rights Center said on Twitter that the detainees, including children, were tortured by the police.
Amnesty International said there were at least 25 people under custody by the counter-terrorism police since Saturday.
"According to the information given by the lawyers of the detainees, many of them have physical injury marks, bruises and cuts on their faces, legs and bodies," the rights group said.
The police shocked genitalia of at least four detainees and assaulted them during detention, Amnesty said in its campaign.
Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party lawmaker Meral Danış Beştaş said on Twitter that "they (police) no longer need to hide the torture. No matter where such scenes occur, no Minister of Interior could remain in office even for a minute."
Artık işkenceyi gizleme gereği bile duymuyorlar. Bu görüntü nerede olsa İçişleri Bakanı bir dakika görevde kalmaz. #HalfetideNelerOluyor pic.twitter.com/nPujkNvSKt
— Meral Danış Beştaş (@meraldanis) 20 Mayıs 2019
Diyarbakır Bar Association Chair Cihan Aydın said the following on his social media account:
"- It is reminiscent of Auschwitz,
- It also seems like Abu Ghraib and Gazza,
- Can it be Guantanamo?
No, be calm, this is a garden of a gendarmerie station in Bozova, Urfa...!
- Those who were handcuffed behind are the Kurdish people who wait for the fast-breaking time."
-Auschwitz’i de andırıyor biraz,
— Cihan Aydın (@CihnAydin) 20 Mayıs 2019
-Ebu Gureyb’e ve Gazze’ye de benziyor sanki,
-Guantanamo olabilir mi?
Yok yok sakin olun, burası Urfa Bozova’da bir karakol bahçesi..!
-Elleri arkadan kelepçelenenler de, iftar saatini bekleyen Kürtler. https://t.co/p72fm9aTaj
PKK, designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the European Union and the United States, has fought a three-decade armed campaign for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey.
On 10 December 2018, the Human Rights Day, Human Rights Association announced its 2018 Violations of Rights in Turkey
In the chapter "TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT, page 9 and 10 they write:
• A total of 538 individuals applied to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) within the first 11 months of 2018 with allegations that they were subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Out of these, 280 applicants stated that they were subjected to torture and ill-treatment in the same year.
• According to data provided by the Human Rights Association (İHD), on the other hand, 10 a total of 2,719 individuals were subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment within the first 11 months of 2018. These include 284 cases of beating and other forms of ill-treatment in detention, 175 cases in extra-custodial places, and 2,260 cases at meetings and demonstrations intervened by security forces.
Moreover, allegations of torture and ill-treatment gradually increased in prisons in Turkey, while the documentation of exact figures is still pending. For further information on the issue, please consult İHD’s special reports on prisons.1 Read the report
Torture and Ill-Treatment in Custody
Cases of torture and ill-treatment in police custody were widely reported through 2017, especially by individuals detained under the anti-terror law, marking a reverse in long-standing progress, despite the government’s stated zero tolerance for torture policy. There were widespread reports of police beating detainees, subjecting them to prolonged stress positions and threats of rape, threats to lawyers, and interference with medical examinations.
There were credible reports of unidentified perpetrators believed to be state agents abducting men in at least six cases, and holding them in undisclosed places of detention in circumstances that amounted to possible enforced disappearances. At least one surfaced in official custody and three others were released after periods of two to three months. The men had all been dismissed from civil service jobs for Gülenist connections.
15 January 2017:
Prosecutor drops torture complaint due to impunity under state of emergency
A document recently issued by a prosecutor’s office in Trabzon stated that there are no grounds to investigate a torture complaint since police officers can act with impunity under the current state of emergency in Turkey.
A few minor Turkish news portals published the document on Sunday displaying the reasoning for dropping charges against police officers who allegedly tortured a plaintiff under detention.
However, the prosecutor’s office in Trabzon stated that given the impunity granted by Article 9 in decree No. 667, police officers cannot be held accountable for their actions.
The prosecutor’s office issued the decision on Jan. 5, stating that no public investigation is possible as suspects cannot be subject to investigation.
The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT)
46. Session on Alleged violations of international law and international humanitarian law by the Turkish Republic and its officials against the Kurdish people and their organizations (Paris, 15-16 March 2018)
The Session on Turkey and the Kurdstook place in Paris on 15-16 March 2018. The PPT announced its Judgment in the European Parliament on 24 May 2018.
In the chapter "TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT" on page 9 and 10 it says:
There are significant findings and allegations covering a wide area that point out to a great increase in recent cases of torture and other ill-treatment practices implemented in order to punish and/or intimidate and/or exercise power over persons and/or used as instruments of criminal procedure (intended for extracting confession or information / “collecting evidence”).
Practices of torture at official detention centers and extra-custodial places, in the streets, in prisons and almost everywhere, along with the “extreme and disproportionate interference” of the law enforcement amounting to the level of “torture” in meetings and demonstrations have become widespread.
Further, we have been witnessing that torture and other forms of ill-treatment were implemented in order to enhance the control and coercion of the political power over different segments of the society and to spread horror and fear.
• A total of 538 individuals applied to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT)
within the first 11 months of 2018 with allegations that they were subjected to torture
and other forms of ill-treatment. Out of these, 280 applicants stated that they were
subjected to torture and ill-treatment in the same year.
• According to data provided by the Human Rights Association (İHD), on the other hand,
a total of 2,719 individuals were subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment
within the first 11 months of 2018. These include 284 cases of beating and other forms
of ill-treatment in detention, 175 cases in extra-custodial places, and 2,260 cases at
meetings and demonstrations intervened by security forces. Moreover, allegations of
torture and ill-treatment gradually increased in prisons in Turkey, while the
documentation of exact figures is still pending. For further information on the issue,
please consult İHD's special reports on prisons.
Read the full report
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018
United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
TURKEY 2018 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY page 4-5 and 6:
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
The constitution and law prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, but there were reports that some government forces employed these tactics. On February 27, UN special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, expressed serious concerns about the rising allegations of torture and other mistreatment in Turkish police custody.
Melzer said he was alarmed by allegations that large numbers of individuals suspected of links to the Gulen movement or PKK were exposed to brutal interrogation techniques aimed at extracting forced confessions or coercing detainees to incriminate others. Reported abuse included severe beatings, electrical shocks, exposure to icy water, sleep deprivation, threats, insults, and sexual assault. The special rapporteur said authorities appeared not to have taken any serious measures to investigate these allegations or to hold perpetrators accountable.
Human rights groups reported in December that torture and mistreatment in police custody occurred at reduced levels compared with 2017, although they contended that victim intimidation may account for reduced reporting. Reports indicated that police also abused detainees outside police station premises. The HRFT reported that, during the first 11 months of the year, it received 538 complaints related to abuse while in custody, 280 of which alleged torture or inhumane treatment.
The HRFT also reported intimidation and shaming of detainees by police were common and that victims hesitated to report abuse due to fear of reprisal. Separately, the Human Rights Association reported that, in the first 11 months of the year, it received 2,719 complaints of abuse by security forces, including 284 complaints related to abuse while in detention facilities, 175 complaints of abuse outside detention facilities, and 2,260 complaints of abuse during demonstrations. The government has not released information on whether it undertook investigations into allegations of mistreatment in prison or detention centers during the year.
The government asserted that it followed a "zero tolerance" policy for torture. HRW maintained, however, that it was "not aware of any serious measures that have been taken to investigate credible allegations of torture." In its World Report 2018, HRW stated: "Cases of torture and ill-treatment in police custody were widely reported through 2017, especially by individuals detained under the antiterror law, marking a reverse in long-standing progress, despite the government's stated zero tolerance for torture policy.
There were widespread reports of police beating detainees, subjecting them to prolonged stress positions and threats of rape, threats to lawyers, and interference with medical examinations." According to 2017 Ministry of Justice statistics, the government opened 84 criminal cases related to allegations of torture. The government has not released data on its investigations into alleged torture.
The Civil Society Association in the Penal System (CISST) reported complaints of physical violence by prison staff and noted complaints from prisoners in Tarsus and Elazig prisons, who reported inhumane treatment and psychological abuse.
A June report by the Diyarbakir, Van, and Hakkari Bar Associations alleged Turkish soldiers tortured four shepherds in Korgan village, Hakkari Province on May 31. The report asserted that shepherd Nasir Tas suffered severe injuries after soldiers allegedly repeatedly held his head under water.
According to press reports, on June 8, in Istanbul, police detained and beat 22 high school students while they were handcuffed in a police van.
According to media reports, some military conscripts endured severe hazing, physical abuse, and torture that sometimes resulted in suicide. In May soldiers severely beat a Kurdish-speaking soldier in Van province for speaking Kurdish. Fethi Aydemir suffered serious injury to the skull and internal organ damage as a result. In a separate incident in Gaziantep, a soldier was attacked by fellow soldiers for having a photograph of Selahattin Demirtas, jailed former leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), on his smartphone.
Read the full report