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Report Ankara bar refuses to publish reveals mistreatment in police custody: opposition MP

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An opposition deputy has said that a report on allegations of torture made by detainees held at a police detention center, which the Ankara Bar Association recently decided not to publish, reveals insults, battery and threats of rape against detainees in police custody.

The report was presented by lawyers to the management of the Ankara Bar Association; however, they decided not to publish it, drawing widespread criticism and prompting resignations within the association.

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a human rights advocate and deputy for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), on Friday stated in a tweet that he had “finally” been able to read the report drafted by Ankara Bar Association lawyers.

“It [the report] has everything: insulting, swearing at the detainees, humiliating and battering them and threatening them with sexual torture. The document has the quality of an international report. So why is this report still not published and why were no criminal complaints filed [on the allegations of torture in it]?” the lawmaker said.

According to a report by the TR724 news website on Jan. 25, people who were detained due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, were subjected to torture at a police detention center in Ankara.

Some 300 people have been detained in the last month in police raids across Turkey as part of investigations overseen by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, and some of them were beaten and forced to sign false confessions while in police custody, TR724 reported, citing their families and lawyers.

After receiving complaints of beating, forced nudity and torture involving the use of water and threats of rape, lawyers from the association’s human rights committee interviewed the detainees and compiled their findings in a report.

Earlier this week six lawyers organizations — Lawyers for Justice, Lawyers for Democracy, Progressive Lawyers Association, Lawyers in Solidarity, Lawyers for Freedom, and Societal Law — issued a statement from their social media accounts saying that torture is a crime against humanity and that it is the Ankara Bar Association’s responsibility to publish their findings to raise awareness.

After an abortive putsch in 2016, ill-treatment and torture became widespread and systematic in Turkish detention centers. Lack of condemnation from higher officials and a readiness to cover up allegations rather than investigate them have resulted in widespread impunity for the security forces.

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