Human rights bodies: 5,268 people tortured under Turkey’s state of emergency

A total of 5,268 people, including 133 children, were reportedly subjected to torture in Turkish prisons, under police custody, outside of detention facilities, during demonstrations under a state of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, according to data shared by Turkish human rights organizations on Tuesday.

The Human Rights Association (İHD), Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV), Diyarbakır Medical Association, the Rights Inititive Association and the Diyarbakır Bar Association held a press conference at the TİHV’s office in the central Yenişehir district of Diyarbakır province on UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

TİHV member Elif Turan said 616 people appealed to the TİHV in 2017 for having been subjected to torture or mistreatment and added that torture and mistreatment incidents have recently reached a dire level. Turan stressed that at least 1,809,000 people’s lives were affected by curfews implemented in the Southeast between August 16, 2015 and June 1, 2018.

Turan stated that the İHD has found that 5,268 people including 133 children were subjected to torture in prisons, under custody, outside of detention facilities, during demonstrations and added: “During the state of emergency, students, journalists and politicians were arrested and the occupancy rates in prisons have increased. According to data released by Turkish Justice Ministry, the number of arrestees and convicts rose from 55,870 in 2005 to 232,179 in 2017. The fact that 467,673 people are on parole as of April 2018 is another sign of the general atmosphere in the country.”

Turan also said that there were 1,154 sick arrestees and convicts in prison as of March 2018 and that 401 of them are seriously ill. Turan stated that according to the İHD, there were 12 cases of abduction and forced disappearance in 2017 and 2018, mostly in Ankara, and added that four of these people have been released, while eight of them have not been heard from.

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