CPT report highlights problems in Turkey’s immigration detention centers

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has stated in its report on Turkey that many foreign nationals were kept for prolonged periods in conditions that could be considered to be inhuman and degrading at the centres visited in Ankara, İstanbul-Kumkapı and İzmir – notably due to severe overcrowding and the lack of natural light. The report said that many complaints were also received about the lack of basic personal hygiene products in all of the removal centres visited.

At the request of the Turkish authorities, CPT has published the report on October 17, 2017 compiled following its visit to a number of immigration detention centres in the country in June 2015.

The committee has expressed grave concern that no outdoor exercise whatsoever was provided to immigration detainees (including minors) at Ankara Removal Centre for weeks or even months on end. With very few exceptions, no sports or other recreational activities were organised for foreign nationals in any of the removal centres visited.

The CPT also noted with great concern that a number of foreign nationals, including families with small children, were being kept in the holding facility in the transit zone of İstanbul Atatürk Airport for prolonged periods (up to five months) without having access to natural light and outdoor exercise.

Other shortcomings identified by the committee related to insufficient medical staff and medical procedures at certain removal centres, a lack of information provided to detainees and the use of pepper spray against foreign nationals in several of the removal centres visited.

The CPT, anyway, had expressed its appreciation of the measures taken by the Turkish authorities to provide shelter, care and protection to more than two million refugees. The CPT delegation heard no allegations of physical ill-treatment of immigration detainees by custodial police officers in any of the removal centres visited, according to the report. It also notes that no allegations were received of physical ill-treatment by law enforcement officials.

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