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Turkish rights organizations say almost 6,000 people subjected to torture or mistreatment in 2017

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Turkey’s human rights organizations have said almost 6,000 people were subjected to torture or mistreatment in the country in 2017, the T24 news website reported on Wednesday.

The Diyarbakır branches of the Human Rights Association (İHD) and Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) held a press conference along with the Diyarbakır Medical Chamber and Diyarbakır Bar Association on Tuesday, the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

Lawyer Elif Turan read a statement, saying that under an ongoing state of emergency claims of torture had significantly increased and that impunity granted to the officials responsible has been the biggest challenge to tackling torture in Turkey.

“In 2017, 616 people reported torture or mistreatment to the TİHV, although 12 of them are now living abroad. A total of 564 people reported they had been tortured in solitary confinement or in the presence of other people,” Turan said.

“According to information received by the İHD, 5,268 people were subjected to torture or mistreatment and 11 abduction cases were reported in 2017,” she added.

The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) reported in one of its studies titled “Suspicious Deaths and Suicides In Turkey” that there has been an increase in the number of suspicious deaths in Turkey, most in jails and detention centers, where torture and ill-treatment are being practiced. In the majority of cases, authorities concluded they were suicides without any effective, independent investigation.

Suspicious deaths have also taken place beyond prison walls amid psychological pressure and threats of imminent imprisonment and torture, sometimes following the release of suspects or just before their detention. SCF has compiled 113 cases of suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkey in a list in a searchable database format.

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