148 people including 5 inmates died, 281 maltreated or tortured in Turkey in March: rights report

Cases of human rights violations in Turkey in March included 148 deaths and 281 incidents of torture or maltreatment, with 51 of them taking place in prisons, where five inmates also died, according to the monthly Rights Violations Report prepared by human rights defender and opposition deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Turkish media reported.

March saw 25 femicides, Tanrıkulu, a Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker who also serves as deputy chairman of the parliamentary Human Rights Committee, said.

The report also revealed that 118 people died as a result of workplace accidents.

Two hundred eighty-one people have been tortured or maltreated in prisons, hospitals or courthouses according to the report. Rights violations in prisons included denial of medical treatment, deprivation of basic needs including food, beds and warm water, and forced transfer to other prisons.

Ill-treatment and torture have become widespread and systematic in Turkish detention centers and prisons. Lack of condemnation from higher officials and a readiness to cover up allegations rather than investigate them have resulted in widespread impunity for the security forces.

Most recently the Mezopotamya News Agency (MA) reported that two inmates in Silivri Prison died in April after being subjected to severe beating and mistreatment by prison guards.

Images of Ferhat Yılmaz, one of the inmates, emerged last week showing him badly injured in a hospital bed.

Three members of the press were attacked; seven journalists were convicted; and six members of the press were detained, the report said.

According to the report Turkish police intervened in at least 43 demonstrations, public press statements and gatherings last month, detaining 813 people.

The US Department of State released its annual human rights report on Turkey last week in which it listed widespread rights violations in 2021.

The report included credible reports of arbitrary killings, suspicious deaths of persons in custody, forced disappearances, torture, arbitrary arrest and the continued detention of tens of thousands of persons for purported ties to “terrorist” groups or peaceful legitimate speech as being among the significant human rights issues in the country.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has rejected the US report, saying the “unfounded allegations” about Turkey in the report “are unfortunate and we reject them totally.’

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