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Opposition lawmaker’s report reveals 339 cases of torture in Turkey in October

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Cases of human rights violations in Turkey in October included 339 incidents of torture and maltreatment, with 200 of them taking place in prisons, a report drafted by Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), revealed on Friday.

The report by Tanrıkulu, a prominent human rights activist and deputy head of a parliamentary committee on human rights, also indicated 42 violations of the right to life and 508 violations of freedom of speech as well as 354 violations of the freedom of assembly taking place during the same period.

According to the report, investigations were launched into five members of the press. Eight journalists were detained, four were arrested and 15 either received prison sentences or were sentenced to pay fines. A journalist was also attacked in October.

Police officers raided eight buildings belonging to political parties or organizations and arrested 50 politicians and political organization members, the report also said.

Tanrıkulu further underlined that a total of 194 people were detained and arrested in October for attending 58 events for the public release of statements and protests.

Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop on Saturday rejected a proposal submitted by Tanrıkulu for the creation of a special commission to investigate human rights violations in Turkish prisons amid the coronavirus pandemic.

An inmate infected with COVID-19 in Istanbul’s Silivri Prison, which holds a large number of Turkey’s political prisoners, recently revealed that he and more than 40 other prisoners are being kept in a ward that was designed to accommodate only seven people.

The inmate also reported that they receive seven rations of food for around 40 people almost every day and have only two bathrooms and one kitchen sink, which creates tension between the prisoners who have to wait all the time to take care of their basic needs.

Although Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government adopted a law in April to release thousands of inmates to ease overcrowding in jails and protect detainees from the coronavirus, it excluded political prisoners. Tens of thousands of people have been imprisoned on terror-related charges as part of a crackdown launched by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the aftermath of an attempted coup in 2016. Most of those people were merely critical of the government and had not engaged in any criminal activity

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