5 rights groups urge UN Committee Against Torture to start inquiry into Turkish prisons

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Photo by Uriel Soberanes (Unsplash)

Five advocacy and human rights groups urged the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) to initiate an inquiry into increasing cases of torture and ill treatment in Turkey’s prisons and detention centers.

A petition submitted on Friday to the UN committee was signed by the International Association for Human Rights Advocacy in Geneva (IAHRA GENEVA), the Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF), Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST), HRD Human Rights Defenders e.V. and the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF).

These groups said Turkey had “seriously and systematically” violated Article 20 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

“Systematic, deliberate and wide-spread torture as a government policy, which manifested itself lastly with the torturing of diplomats in Ankara Police Headquarters, is made possible by, inter alia, practices of prolonged detention, prohibition of lawyer-client meetings and/or violation of their confidentiality, dissolution of all prison monitoring boards and prevention of obtaining fair medical examination reports,” the petition said.

“Not only Turkey lacks competent and willing judicial bodies to investigate well-grounded allegations of torture, it also suffers from obscuring of evidences of torture,” it added.

The cases of torture and ill treatment increased significantly after a failed coup attempt in 2016, for which the Turkish government blames the faith-based Gülen movement, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.

“The Erdoğan Regime’s security and intelligence arms have not abstained from abducting people either. All 26 cases of enforced disappearances in Turkey so far follow a similar pattern, which proves the fact that it is a systematic effort. The victims spend months with their conditions or whereabouts unknown, are subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment,” the petition said.

“Enforced disappearances are not confined within the borders of Turkey, the government abducts people abroad as well. Turkish Foreign Minister brazenly boasted about kidnapping of 100 individuals by the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) from 18 countries. These victims have also reported being subjected to severe torture.”

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