Turkey police torture detainees after coup: HRW

2016-10-26 05:50
A man lies in front of a tank at the entrance to Istanbul's Atatürk airport. (Ismail Coskun, HA via AP)

A man lies in front of a tank at the entrance to Istanbul's Atatürk airport. (Ismail Coskun, HA via AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Istanbul - Human Rights Watch on Tuesday said Turkey's state of emergency amounted to giving "a blank cheque" for police to torture, abuse or threaten people detained after the failed coup.

The US-based watchdog cited 13 cases of alleged abuse, including torture, sleep deprivation, severe beatings, sexual abuse and rape threats among people arrested after the July 15 attempted putsch.

"By removing safeguards against torture, the Turkish government effectively wrote a blank cheque to law enforcement agencies to torture and mistreat detainees as they like," Hugh Williamson, HRW's Europe and Central Asia director, said in a statement.

Its report detailed several examples of detainees with bruises and marks on their body and said some lawyers were too scared to record evidence that their clients had been tortured.

A forensic specialist told HRW: "There was not a part of [a detainee's] body that was not covered in bruises."

In one alleged incident, an Istanbul-based lawyer told the rights group that her client said officers "threatened to rape them and their wives".

The report is based on interviews with 40 people between August and September including lawyers, human rights activists and those who had been detained, HRW said.

The emergency was first imposed a few days after the coup bid then extended for another 12 weeks earlier this month.

It extended detention without judicial review from four to 30 days, and authorised a detainee to be denied access to a lawyer for up to five days, HRW said.

The group also said the authorities restricted access to attorneys, and often only allowed legal aid lawyers to those arrested.


The Turkish government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

But two days before the report was published, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag insisted "there is no bad treatment or torture" in Turkish prisons and detention centres.

In a series of Twitter posts on Sunday, Bozdag demanded those making such accusations provided further details on where and when the abuse took place, who the victims were and who the perpetrators were.

He did not name the HRW or any other group as the accuser.

"They do not give information or a chance for Turkey to investigate; they do not accept Turkey's explanations, they only blame Turkey," he said in one tweet.

In another, he said Turkish prisons and detention centres were open to international, civil, judicial and administrative checks. "These checks have been made completely," he added.

More than 35 000 people have been placed under arrest since a rogue military faction tried to remove President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power.

The Turkish government argues it is dealing with an extraordinary threat to the country, but its allies in the West have expressed concern and urged it to act in line with the rule of law.

Read more on:    hrw  |  turkey

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.