Amnesty expresses concern over increasing arbitrary pre-trial detention, torture in Turkey in UN Human Rights Council

Amnesty International (AI) has stated that the human rights organization is alarmed by the increasing use of arbitrary pre-trial detention, often in cases where there is no evidence of criminal behaviour, and the increase in allegations of torture and ill-treatment of those in police detention since the failed coup attempt of last July in Turkey.

International human rights organization AI has made an oral statement during 35th Session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on June 15 over the massive crackdown on freedoms and deterioration of the human rights situation in Turkey.

Stating that the “deterioration of the human rights situation in Turkey is not new, but the scale of the current crackdown is unprecedented,” AI said that “The organization is alarmed by the increasing use of arbitrary pre-trial
detention, often in cases where there is no evidence of criminal behaviour, and the increase in allegations of torture and ill-treatment of those in police detention since the failed coup attempt of last July.”

Oral statement of AI representative continued as follow: “We are also concerned about the massive crackdown on freedom of expression and media freedom. Since the attempted coup, over 156 media outlets have been permanently shut down by successive emergency decrees. Over 120 journalists and other media workers are currently imprisoned pending trial. Some have been held for over ten months. Vague anti-terrorism laws, such as those prohibiting
membership of, or making propaganda for, a terrorist organization, are being used to prosecute journalists, media workers and human rights defenders.

“Last week, the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, Taner Kiliç, became yet another example of the government’s crackdown on civil society, as he was detained, and eventually charged with “membership of a terrorist organisation”
and remanded in pre-trial detention.”

Amnesty International has also called on the Turkish authorities to ensure his immediate and unconditional release. And AI has also called for the immediate end to the use of arbitrary, punitive, pre-trial detention which has been used to target human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, writers,  judges and academics.

Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 264 journalists are now in jails as of June 16, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 240 are arrested pending trial, only 24 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 105 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.

A controversial military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

At least 161,751 people were detained or investigated and 50,334 people were arrested in Turkey in the framework of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to statistics reported by state-run Anadolu news agency by basing on information taken from the officials from Turkey’s Justice Minsitry on June 13.

June 17, 2017

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