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AKP, MHP reject motion to investigate strip-searches in Turkey’s prisons

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its opposition ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), shot down a parliamentary motion floated by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to investigate alleged strip-searches in Turkey’s prisons and detention facilities.

The motion was recently submitted to parliament by HDP deputy group chairpersons Saruhan Oluç and Meral Danış Bektaş in the wake of a growing number of women who shared on social media their experiences of strip-searches during their detention or imprisonment.

Most of the alleged incidents of strip-search occurred after a coup attempt in July 2016, following which the Turkish government carried out mass detentions and arrests of people under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

The latest strip-search claims were brought to public attention by HDP deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, which prompted scores of women as well as men to share on social media their experiences of strip-searches.

Commenting on the rejection by the AKP and MHP of his party’s motion to investigate strip-searches, Gergerlioğlu said on Twitter that these parties think their rejection will help the cover-up of these incidents.

“You will be tried in this world and in the hereafter for trying to cover up this inhumane crime. The public conscience knows everything,” he tweeted.

The claims of rampant strip-search were strongly denied by AKP deputy group chairperson Özlem Zengin, who in a statement last week accused Gergerlioğlu of terrorizing the legislature by bringing such allegations to the floor of parliament.

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