According to report called “Turkey’s Descent Into Arbitrariness The End Of Rule Of Law” by Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) Turkish lawyers are powerless to stop torture. The section of the report titled “Lawyers Powerless to Stop Torture” is as follows:
“The torture cases in Turkey’s detention centers cited in a New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) report titled “A Blank Check: Turkey’s Post-Coup Suspension of Safeguards against Torture” include several incidents in which lawyers were prevented from stopping the torture of their clients while in police custody. In one incident, a lawyer who was assigned a high-ranking officer as a client in the first few days after the coup attempt told HRW that when she first saw her client at Ankara Security Directorate headquarters, he had marks and injuries on his forehead and neck, scratches on his arms, bruises from handcuffs and scratches and bruises on the top of his feet. She said he also had a wound on his leg that looked like a piece of flesh was missing. The lawyer’s request to have a private meeting with her client was denied, a copy of the medical report was not provided and police threatened the lawyer with detention as well. The client told the court how he was tortured while in detention before the judge ruled to formally arrest him. Police whispered to a judge as the hearing was in progress and threatened the lawyer with arrest during a break. In another case reported by HRW, a lawyer recounted how her client was repeatedly beaten by police while in detention. The police whipped her client with plastic strips that are normally used as handcuffs and punched him with their fists in the head and his upper body. He couldn’t do anything to protect himself as he was handcuffed. The lawyer tried to intervene to stop the beating, but to no avail. She said: “At some point, I just turned away. I don’t know how many times they hit him. I couldn’t look at it anymore. I knew I couldn’t do anything to stop it. In the end he gave a statement…” The lawyer told Human Rights Watch that she would normally refuse to sign an interrogation report given under such conditions, or would make a note of the conditions on the report, but that she was too afraid to do either. “I was the only lawyer there at the time. There was violence everywhere and the police were not happy to see me there, saying, ‘What do these people need a lawyer for?’” The lawyer said the officer did not mention the ill-treatment during the court hearing that sanctioned his arrest and sent him to pre-trial detention. The lawyer has since refused to accept new clients as a legal aid lawyer.”
There has been a relentless campaign of arrests which has targeted fellow lawyers across the country. In 77 of Turkey’s 81 provinces, lawyers have been detained and arrested on trumped-up charges as part of criminal investigations orchestrated by the political authorities and conducted by provincial public prosecutors. As of today, 522 lawyers have been arrested and 1315 lawyers are under prosecution.
Categories: Situation in Turkey, Torture and Impunity