Ankara Bar files complaint on allegations of torture at police department

The Ankara Bar Association has announced that they filed a complaint against the Ankara Police Department based on nine allegations of torture made by detainees held at detention centers in February and March, Turkish Minute reported.

The association on Thursday released a written statement titled “There’s no end to torture allegations in police units in Ankara” on their website, saying they had submitted complaints to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding nine such allegations.

According to the statement, four incidents of torture are claimed to have taken place in the narcotics unit, three in the Sincan District Police Department and two in the counterterrorism unit between Feb. 8 and March 25.

“We remind you that there are decisions made in both national courts and international jurisdictions regarding the need to ensure that public officials who commit crimes against humanity should not benefit from amnesty or the statute of limitations, with no exceptions, including in a state of war,” the lawyers said.

They also underlined that their actions would reveal the truth and that “the crime of torture, considered jus cogens in national and international jurisdictions, will not go unpunished.”

Jus cogens are a set of universal, superior and overriding legal principles, and the prohibition of torture is one of them.

The Ankara Bar Association attracted criticism for refusing to publish a report by the bar’s human rights committee on allegations of torture made by detainees held at a police detention center in Ankara back in January.

Several members of the committee, including its head, resigned in February in protest following the bar’s decision not to publish the January report.

The association’s president, Kemal Koranel, who refused to publish the January report, also resigned in late March, saying in a statement on social media that failing to express a dissenting opinion about the decision was a mistake.

The January report included allegations that people who were detained due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, were subjected to torture at a police detention center in Ankara.

According to a report by the TR724 news website, 300 people were detained in January in police raids across Turkey as part of investigations overseen by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

After an abortive putsch in 2016, ill-treatment and torture became widespread and systematic in Turkish detention centers. 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.

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