Deputy asks for parliamentary investigation into torture claims

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Ağrı deputy Dirayet Dilan Taşdemir has submitted an inquiry to the Turkish Parliament on claims of torture in Ankara and the southeastern province of Urfa, Bianet reported on Monday.

A committee should be formed to investigate the claims and to determine the necessary legal and administrative measures to end torture, Taşdemir said in the inquiry.

Last month some 50 people were detained in a counterterrorism operation in the Halfeti district of Urfa after a skirmish between security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Accused of helping the terrorist group, the detainees were seen rear-handcuffed and laid down on the ground side by side, which drew outrage on social media from human rights defenders.

The Urfa Bar Association’s Human Rights Center later reported that the detainees were subjected to torture during their interrogation and forced to sign false testimonies.

The inquiry also detailed the case of Ayten Öztürk, who was detained in Lebanon in March 2018 for alleged membership in the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) and was tortured for six months.

Torture has become common practice Turkey. In May, 20 out of some 100 former Foreign Ministry employees who had been detained were reported to have been subjected to torture. The Ankara Bar Association published a report including interviews with five detainees who were tortured at a detention center in Ankara, exposing details of the torture perpetrated by law enforcement officials.

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