Within its periodic review procedure, the UN Committee against Torture blasts Turkey over wide-spread torture, and institutional negligence on investigating torture incidents. The Committee addressed more than hundred questions to be answered by the Turkish Government.
The Committee reiterated its request from Turkey to align the definition of torture in Turkish laws with the UN Convention Against Torture. More precisely the CAT asked Turkey to amend article 94 of the Criminal Code to align it with article 1 of the Convention by (a) identifying the motivational factors or reasons for committing acts of torture; and (b) including in the definition acts intended to intimidate, coerce or obtain information or a confession from a person other than the victim.
The Committee also asked Turkey to provide information regarding cases of abduction and enforced disappearance; whether there have been any investigations and prosecutions related to such alleged cases and their outcome.
13 journalists from nine media in eight countries have published Turkish Intel’s (MIT) abduction operations and its Black Sites to torture its targets. The story was published by nine media outlets including El Pais, Le Monde, ZDF.
The UN Committee, having explicitly mentioned Gokhan Acikkollu who was tortured to death and Ziynet Saglam who was tortured in the Turkish Intel’s so-called ‘Ciftlik (farm), requested information on whether any investigation launched against the perpetrators of these actions and on the outcome.
Moreover, the UN Committee Against Torture asked for information on:
- claims of torture incidents lived in the Afyon Police Department, Istanbul Security Directorate, the Ankara Security Directorate, and the Tekirdag F-type prison,
- consistent reports and evidence show that the soldiers detained within the investigations on the coup attempt are subjected to torture in unofficial detention centres,
- the number of complaints of torture and ill-treatment concerning unofficial places of detention, and information on formal investigations, prosecutions, and their outcomes concerning the torture complaints lived in these centers,
- Decree-Law No. 668 which provides impunity for the public servants for administrative, financial or criminal responsibilities,
- whether any officials have been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for engaging in torture or ill-treatment of personstaken into custody on suspicion of involvement in the coup d’état or association with groups accused of supporting terrorism,
- on measures taken to deal with the overcrowding of places where persons are deprived of their liberty throughout the country,
- on measures to improve material conditions in all police holding cells, including cleanliness, heating, bedding, overcrowding, reducing the constant bright lighting, 24-hour video surveillance, adequate access to toilet facilities, and access to sunlight and fresh air,
- information on any investigations and prosecutions concerning reports of occasional abuse and degrading treatment of persons arrested, including verbal assaults and threats, slaps, and invasive body searches, as well as male guards sexually threatening or harassing female detainees during transfers and denying them privacy during medical examinations,
- information regarding allegations that large numbers of persons arrested in connection with the attempted coup have been held in prolonged solitary confinement.
The UN Committee also, having noted that European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) suspended the membership of the Turkish High Council for Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) on the grounds that “it is no longer an institution which is independent of the executive and legislature, and the statement of Deputy Chairman of the HYSK that dismissed judges and prosecutors may only be reinstated to their posts if they make confessions, requested information on how many rulings on the appeals of judges and prosecutors against their dismissals have been issued by the Council of State, the supreme administrative court of Turkey, whose competence to hear direct appeals in such cases was clarified by Decree-Law No. 685 of 23 January 2017.