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European Council Parliamentary Assembly Resolution Describing Systematic Tortures and Inhumane Treatments in Turkey Was Adopted

ENSAR NUR | TR724 STRASBOURG

The European Council Parliamentary Assembly (ECtHR), gathered in Strasbourg, today adopted a resolution and report that also addresses systematic tortures and inhumane treatments in Turkey.

The resolution and report titled “Systematic Torture and Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Allegations in Detention Centers in Europe,” prepared by Cypriot MP Constantinos Efstathiou, focuses on cases in Russia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey.

After being debated in an ECtHR session, the resolution was voted on in the general assembly. The resolution calls for reinforced measures to combat and eliminate torture and other forms of mistreatment in detention centers.

FUNDAMENTAL VALUES ARE BEING COMPROMISED

The report states, “The Council of Europe must absolutely prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishments. Individuals in detention are vulnerable, and States are obligated to protect their physical well-being and account for any harm they suffer.”

In the resolution, it is written that the ECtHR strongly condemns the systematic or widespread use of torture and other forms of mistreatment in some Council of Europe member states and Russia. This practice not only violates Article 3 of the Convention’s prohibition of torture but also damages the rule of law, democracy, and the fundamental values represented by the Council of Europe.

TORTURES AND ILL-TREATMENTS IN TURKEY ARE SYSTEMATIC!

The Cypriot MP emphasizes in his report that the practices of torture and mistreatment are systematic.

Regarding Turkey, despite the “zero tolerance” message by authorities, there has been an increase in the use of torture and mistreatment in police custody and prisons in recent years, overshadowing the progress previously made in this area.

TORTURES INCREASED AFTER JULY 15

The report highlights a significant increase in torture and ill-treatments especially after July 15, 2016, referring to various human rights mechanisms’ reports.

The previous Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, expressed concern in July 2016 about the torture and ill-treatment of suspects involved in the coup attempt in Turkey, as well as images of torture marks on detainees published in the media at that time.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, after his visit to Turkey in 2016, published a report concluding that “immediately following the failed coup… torture and other forms of ill-treatment were prevalent, particularly during pre-detention in police or gendarmerie stations or at unofficial detention places.”

TURKEY SHOULD ALLOW PUBLICATION OF CPT REPORTS

The Cypriot MP called for the publication of reports written by the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) of the Council of Europe after their country visits.

Expert teams visiting police and gendarmerie centers and prisons document their observations. However, the publication of these reports is subject to the permission of the visited country.

Turkey has only allowed the publication of two of the CPT’s reports on detentions and prisons since 2016. Other reports related to visits in 2021, 2018, and after the coup attempt in 2016 have not yet been published due to Turkey’s refusal.

In its 2020 report addressing the 2019 visit to Turkey, the CPT recorded receiving numerous complaints of excessive use of force and physical ill-treatment by law enforcement officials, including against women and children in custody.

Much of the allegations apparently involved beatings during transport or at police stations to extract confessions.

Despite the alleged severity of the ill-treatment appearing to have decreased compared to the findings of the 2017 visit, the CPT noted that “the frequency of the allegations remained at a worrying level.”

Efstathiou included statements from various NGOs in Turkey in his report, noting that despite the so-called “zero tolerance to torture” policy, torture continues to be widespread.

The parliamentarian argued that the automatic and mandatory publication of CPT reports should become a standard practice and called on Turkey to comply.

DECISIONS OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT SHOULD BE APPLIED AS PRECEDENTS

In May 2021, the Constitutional Court ruled in two cases that the prohibition against ill-treatment was violated and ordered new investigations into complaints that were rejected in 2016.

One case involved a male teacher named A.A. from Afyon, who alleged torture and rape while in custody, and the other involved a male teacher named E.B. from Antalya, who claimed he was tortured by the police while in custody and subsequently required emergency surgery.

Other cases, such as that of Kurdish prisoner Garibe Gezer, who was found dead in her cell in December 2021 and claimed to have been beaten and sexually abused by guards in Kandıra Prison, also related to women.

The Cypriot MP stated that all lower courts must comply with the decisions made by the Constitutional Court.

MEMBERS OF THE GÜLEN MOVEMENT ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE TORTURED

The adopted report includes the June 2021 report on torture practices prepared by the Human Rights Association (IHD). According to the data, in 2020, 383 people, including 10 children, experienced ill-treatment or torture in official detention places. The same year, 397 people claimed to have been tortured or ill-treated in unofficial detention places or outside of custody, and 358 were in prison.

The IHD’s 2022 report indicated that in 2021, 1,414 people in Turkish prisons, and 531 people (including 12 children) in police custody, suffered ill-treatment or torture.

The report highlighted that individuals alleged to be connected to the PKK or the Gülen movement were more likely to suffer torture or ill-treatment.

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