22 prison staff members detained over alleged torture, mistreatment and embezzlement


Twenty-two prison staff members, comprising guards and two administrators, have been detained on warrants issued by Turkish prosecutors for alleged torture and mistreatment of inmates and embezzlement of public funds, the Bold news website reported.

As part of an investigation launched by the Malatya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, 22 detention warrants were issued on Monday. Police conducted operations in eight provinces and detained the suspects.

They are accused of torturing and mistreating inmates, misconduct in public office, bid rigging in public tenders and the theft of public funds.   

Turkey has experienced a marked resurgence of torture and ill-treatment in custody since a coup attempt on July 15, 2016. 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.

Turkey’s Constitutional Court in November 2020 found a government decree that granted immunity to civilians who were involved in criminal activities to suppress the abortive putsch to be constitutional, hence sanctioning the country’s culture of impunity at the highest level.

An annual report on human rights violations in Turkey drafted by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu revealed 5,361 incidents of torture or maltreatment in 2022, with 80 of those affected being minors. 

Most recently, sixty-eight women who are incarcerated in Ankara’s Sincan Prison have in a letter asked the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) to take immediate action on suspicious deaths in the country’s prisons and to launch an investigation into them.

The US State Department, which issued its 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices with a subsection on Turkey last month, listed credible reports of suspicious deaths of persons in custody, among other rights violations in the country.

The report addressed the issue of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, citing domestic and international rights groups who “reported that some police officers, prison authorities, and military and intelligence units employed these practices.”

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