Ankara bar management refuses to publish 3 more torture reports

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The Ankara Bar Association, which attracted criticism for refusing to publish a report by the bar’s human rights committee on allegations of torture made by detainees held at a police detention center in January, has refused to publish three more reports on torture claims, the ANKA news agency reported on Friday.

According to ANKA, the three reports were drafted by the bar’s human rights committee, which has new members after several lawyers and the head of the committee resigned in February in protest following the bar’s decision not to publish the initial report.

Six other reports on claims of torture in prisons and detention centers in Turkey have also been submitted to the bar management, but no decision has been made regarding their publication, ANKA said.

The January report included allegations that 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.

According to a report by the TR724 news website, 300 people were detained in January in police raids across Turkey as part of investigations overseen by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Ankara Bar Association President Kemal Koranel, who refused to publish the January report, resigned in late March, saying in a statement on social media that failing to express a dissenting opinion about the decision was a mistake.

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a human rights advocate and deputy for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), on Feb. 10 tweeted that he had “finally” been able to read the report drafted by the Ankara Bar Association lawyers.

“It [the report] has everything: insults, 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.

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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