Prisoners abused in southeast Turkey: Human Rights Watch

Turkish police have engaged in severe ill-treatment and abuse of detainees while responding to perceived security threats in the southeastern part of the country, Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

“It’s deeply worrying that police in Turkey’s southeast seem to be returning to abusive tactics in response to the security threats,” said Benjamin Ward, Europe and Central Asia division deputy director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities should urgently investigate and prosecute those responsible, and ensure that people in custody are protected from ill-treatment and have prompt access to proper medical treatment.”

Human Rights Watch made repeated efforts to discuss these cases with both the governor of Şırnak province and the district governor of Silopi, but has received no response.

“Turkey is party to both the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which prohibit inhuman and degrading treatment and torture. Turkey has strict obligations to protect the rights to life, bodily integrity, and security, and as part of those obligations, medical treatment must be provided promptly to anyone who is injured when arrested,” teh Human Rights Watch said.

In a previous case, the European Court of Human Rights found Turkey guilty of violating its obligations when it failed to provide prompt and appropriate medical treatment to a person who had been detained allegedly on suspicion of PKK membership, and who had visible injuries to his head and evident difficulties in walking and talking.

The Turkish authorities should ensure that its policing and security operations comply fully with human rights law, that police officers who violate fundamental rights and freedoms are held accountable, and that acts of torture and ill-treatment are investigated and prosecuted, Human Rights Watch said.

“No one should be denied access to proper medical treatment, no matter the accusations against them,” Ward said. “The Turkish authorities should make sure that people in police custody and prison are getting the medical care they need.”

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