"Torture has increased, prisons are at capacity"

NGOs in Amed have issued a statement saying that with the State of Emergency in Turkey,, torture has increased, prisons have reached capacity and people have been abducted, and pointed out the importance of solidarity.

The Human Rights Association (İnsan Hakları Derneği - İHD), Human Rights Foundation Turkey (Türkiye İnsan Hakları Vakfı - TİHV), Diyarbakır Medical Association, the Rights Inititive Association and the Amed Bar Association held a press conference in the TİHV offices in the central Yenişehir district on the June 26 UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.


TİHV Member Elif Turan pointed out that in recent years, torture practices have seen a severe rise in not only authoritarian regimes and dictatorships but in developed democracies as well. Turan stressed the importance of solidarity with victims of torture and stated that with the State of Emergency declared on July 20, 2016 in Turkey, a period started when core rights beyond fundamental rights and freedoms are being ignored. Turan pointed to the severe increase in the cases of torture and mistreatment in Turkey.


Turan said 616 people appealed to the TİHV in 2017 for having been subjected to torture or mistreatment, and added that the torture and mistreatment incidents have reached a dire level recently. Turan stressed that at least 1.809.000 people's lives were affected by the "curfew" practices between August 16 2015 and June 1 2018.


Turan stated that the İHD has found that 5.268 people (including 133 children) were subjected to torture in prisons, under custody, outside of detention grounds, in demonstrations and by village guards and private security officers, and continued: "During the State of Emergency, students, journalists and politicians were arrested and the occupancy rates have increased in prisons. According to the Ministry of Justice's own data, the number of arrestees and convicts rose from 55.870 in 2005 to 232.179 in 2017. The fact that 467.673 people are in parole as of April 2018 is another sign of the general atmosphere in the country."


Turan said there are 1.154 sick arrestees and convicts as of March 2018 and 401 of them are severely ill, and said the problems the sick prisoners have await a solution. Turan also stated that according to te İHD, there have been 12 cases of abductions and forced disappearances in 2017 and 2018, mostly in Ankara, and added that 4 of these people have been released but 8 of them are still unheard from. Turan said the practices aim to create a society of fear: "The statutory decrees issued during the State of Emergency have severely restricted individual rights and freedoms and the right to defense, while completely disregarding the sanctity of life. During this time, an atmosphere has been created to violate the ban on torture and torturers have been encouraged and protected."


Turan stressed that they demand an immediate end to the State of Emergency: "Considering the risk of how lasting and destructive torture's effects can be after the State of Emergency, an intensification of societal efforts to prevent torture become imperative."

TİHV Member Elif Turan said they will increase solidarity with victims of torture and called on all persons who have been subjected to torture or mistreatment to appeal to the İHD and the TİHV.