Date posted: October 13, 2017
People detained after the last year’s failed putsch have been subject to torture in police custody while several others were abducted outside detention facilities, according to a recent report by the Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The New York-based watchdog documented human rights abuses occurred between March and August 2017 in its 43-page report, “In Custody: Police Torture and Abductions in Turkey,” on Thursday.
HRW said detailed credible evidence for 11 cases of serious abuse including sexual assault, severe beatings, or the threat of sexual assault and of stripping naked. Meanwhile, the watchdog notes that it documented five cases of abductions that could amount to enforced disappearances by state apparatus.
HRW said the examples represented only some part of the picture by saying: “Where individuals did not want any identifying information included, a decision was made to omit the case from the report.”
The abuses targeted mostly the people affiliated with the Fethullah Gulen’s Hizmet movement which the government accuses of masterminding the failed takeover. The movement denies involvement. Individuals with alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) came in the second place, HRW added.
“Official figures show that in the past year well over 150,000 people have passed through police custody accused of terrorist offenses, membership of armed groups, or involvement in the attempted coup in July 2016.”
The advocacy group underlined that safeguards against human rights abuses are lifted as doctors voluntarily or involuntarily ignore maltreatment to prisoners while lawyers, lacking the backing of provincial bar associations and the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB), fear to report such incidents.
In one of the cases HRW reported on Friday, Hasan Kobalay, a former head of a Gulen-linked prep school told the court during his trial as following: ”
Cold water was sprayed on my body, especially on my testicles and buttocks, which are still painful… They then said “Speak!” and I said: “What shall I say?” They touched me all over, they did something to my anus, but I don’t know what. It took up to an hour, and then they said we’ll bring your wife and do the same to her. At that point I broke down [at this point the defendant began to cry as he recounted it] because my wife and children are the only thing in my world. Then they took me to a room and mapped out what I needed to say… “You were the ‘imam’ of the group.” “No, I wasn’t,” I said. “You were,” they said. “You gave teachers lessons.” “No, I didn’t,” I said. “You did,” they said…”
Source: Turkey Purge , October 13, 2017