The Year in Review: Torture and Inhuman Treatment

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Turkey has experienced a marked resurgence of torture and ill-treatment in custody over the past five years and especially since a coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Lack of condemnation from higher officials and a readiness to cover up allegations rather than investigate them have resulted in widespread impunity for security forces.

The enormous gulf between Turkey’s constitutional provisions for the protection of human rights and the grim reality on the ground continued to grow during the year. In a landmark decision, Turkey’s Constitutional Court in November found a government decree that granted immunity to civilians who were involved in criminal activities to suppress the abortive putsch to be constitutional, hence sanctioning the country’s culture of impunity at the highest level.

Here is some of the most important news from 2020 in the field of torture and inhuman treatment:

Council of Europe’s CPT confirms continued ill-treatment and torture in Turkey

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) confirmed in two reports published on August 5 the continued existence of ill-treatment, torture, informal questioning and restricted access to a lawyer as well as a fundamentally flawed medical screening system in Turkish detention facilities. More..

Man testifies about torture by security officers during enforced disappearance

Yasin Ugan, who had been missing for six months before suddenly reappearing in police custody, revealed in court that he was tortured by security officers, according to a prominent Turkish human rights activist.

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a rights activist and a member of parliament, said Ugan had been tortured for six months after being kidnapped on February 13, 2019, with his head covered with a black plastic bag most of the time. More..

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Ousted Kurdish mayor attacked by police dogs, tortured in home for hours

Ousted co-mayor of Van’s Edremit Municipality Rojbin Çetin was attacked by police dogs and tortured in her home in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır during a police raid on June 26. More..

Female officer raped in detention by Turkish police had to abort pregnancy

A female officer who had served in the Turkish army had to have an abortion after she was raped in police custody, Lt. Abdulvahap Berke told a panel of judges in an Ankara court. More..

Police chief nicknamed ‘Angel of Death’ who ran torture sites in Turkey unmasked in court testimony

A Turkish police chief with the self-proclaimed nickname of Azrael, or the Angel of Death, oversaw two unofficial torture sites with nearly 2,000 people subjected to brutal treatment in 2016, multiple victim statements in court revealed. More..

Content of censored Council of Europe torture report on Turkey revealed

Documents detailing torture and abuse in Turkish prisons and detention centers obtained by Nordic Monitor explain why Turkey has for four years blocked the publication of a report by a Council of Europe committee that paid a fact-finding visit to Turkey in 2016 to investigate allegations of torture and ill treatment in Turkish correctional facilities.

Brutally tortured, robbed of his property and livelihood, imprisoned and his family stigmatized, Col. Cemil Turhan and his story represent the epitome of suffering caused by human rights abuses committed on a massive scale in post-coup Turkey. He was one of the victims who gave a statement to the visiting members of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), a Council of Europe-affiliated body. More..

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Group of soldiers assaults Kurdish villagers, one succumbs to his injuries

Servet Turgut and Osman Şiban, two Kurdish villagers allegedly thrown from a military helicopter in the southeastern province of Van, were in fact assaulted by a mob of more than 100 soldiers, a report by independent deputy and investigative journalist Ahmet Şık revealed. More..

I heard screams of women being raped at a Turkish detention center, says torture victim

Erhan Doğan, who was tortured at a gymnasium-turned-detention center in Turkey, recounted for the first time the torture he underwent and witnessed. “The police who tortured me threatened to bring my daughter and my wife and rape them if I did not say what they wanted. I no longer cared about the torture I underwent that night,” Doğan said.

“It took about 45 minutes. Then they took me away, but the torture of the women in the next room continued. Judging from their cries and screams, I am absolutely sure they were raped. More..

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Photographs of deputy police inspector who died in prison quarantine show criminal neglect

Photos of former deputy policy inspector Mustafa Kabakçıoğlu, 44, who died in a quarantine cell in prison on August 29, have been revealed, shedding light on the unsanitary conditions in which he was forced to live. More..

Turkish prosecutor who approved torture chambers at unauthorized site identified

Torture chambers set up at an unofficial detention site in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara that were the subject of a Council of Europe (CoE) report in 2016 censored by Turkey were approved with the directives of investigating prosecutor Mustafa Manga, judicial papers revealed. More..

Turkish-backed Syrian rebels may have carried out torture, rape and looting: UN

Turkey must rein in the rebels it supports in northern Syria who may have carried out kidnappings, torture, rape and looting of civilian property, United Nations war crimes investigators said in September. More..

Doctor who witnessed torture in Turkish mass detention center speaks out

A medical doctor who was assigned to conduct physical examinations in a gymnasium-turned-mass detention center following a failed coup in Turkey in 2016 spoke for the first time about the torture he witnessed and recorded there to the Bold Medya news website in an interview with exiled journalist Cevheri Güven. More..

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Police officer accused of torturing former air forces commander gets promoted

Elif Uzun Sümercan, a former deputy chief of the Ankara Police Department’s counterterrorism unit who was accused of torturing former commander of the Turkish Air Forces Gen. Akın Öztürk, has been rewarded by an appointment as a department head at Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. More..

Turkish intelligence agency MIT’s secret rendition flight and black torture site exposed

Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı, or MİT) operated a secret rendition flight and initiated a torture session on the spy plane when it abducted a critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from Kazakhstan and later subjected the victim to further torture and abuse at a black site near the airport in Ankara, court documents obtained by Nordic Monitor  revealed. More..

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Policeman accused of torture gets fined $450, with payment deferred for 5 years

The Erzurum Court of Appeals ruled to impose a fine of TL 3,000 (approximately $450, less than the fine for breaking curfew) on police officer O.Ş., who was accused of torturing four villagers but deferred the execution of its verdict. More..

Source: SCF

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