Torture, undue detention rife in Turkey, says UN

The UN Committee Against Torture has criticized the excessively long pre-trial detention in Turkey in its latest report.
The use of torture by law enforcement authorities is committed in unofficial places, the report says

SEV?L KÜÇÜKKO?UM
ANKARA
The U.N. Committee Against Torture has leveled harsh criticism at Turkey and raised concerns about “long pre-trial detentions” in the country.
“The committee is concerned by the lack of consideration of alternative measures to deprivation of liberty by judicial authorities and excessively long pre-trial detention, especially of those tried in the new heavy penal courts,” the committee’s latest report said.
The committee prepared its third periodic report on Turkey on the country’s efforts to put into effect the provisions of the U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The report applauded a series of legal reforms that have been implemented by the Turkish government. It welcomed the state’s reforms in the field of human rights and ongoing efforts to revise its legislation to ensure stronger protection of human rights. The report also welcomed the government’s adoption of a policy of “zero tolerance for torture.”
However, the report devoted much space to the list of the principal subjects of concerns and recommendations for the Turkish government. It underlined the use of torture committed by officials in unofficial places, “notwithstanding the fight against torture and ill-treatment has been a priority item on the government’s agenda.” The report mentioned concerns about “numerous, ongoing and consistent allegations … concerning the use of torture, particularly in unofficial places of detention, including in police vehicles, on the street and outside police stations.”
The committee was also concerned by the absence of “prompt, thorough, independent and effective investigations into allegations of torture committed by security and law enforcement officers.”
The committee cited reports regarding the failure of authorities to conduct effective and independent investigations into allegations of torture and ill-treatment. “The prosecutors face obstacles in effectively investigating complaints against law enforcement officers.”
In order to ensure better investigations of allegations of torture and ill treatment, the report called on the state to strengthen the efficiency and independence of public prosecution by increasing the number, authority and training of investigating prosecutors and judicial police. The report also recommended establishing an independent police complaint mechanism.
The committee brought up alleged cases of extra-judicial killings by security and law enforcement officers and called on the state to take measures to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice and punished with penalties appropriate to the nature of their crimes.
The report said the committee was concerned by restrictions to the enjoyment of fundamental legal safeguards against torture and ill treatment. “The state party should ensure by law and in practice that all detainees are guaranteed the right to have prompt access to a lawyer, to notify a family member and to independent medical examinations from the very outset of their detention.”
The report criticized the increase in the excessive use of force and ill treatment of demonstrators by police outside detention facilities. “The committee is concerned by reports of fatal shootings by the police and gendarmerie.” It recalled the revisions on the law authorizing the police to stop any person and request to see his/her identification, “which, it is alleged, have led to an increase in violent confrontations.”


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