Inmate with bruises covering his body found dead in Rize prison, sparking claims of mistreatment

Süphan Çabuk, who was serving time in a prison in the northern Turkish province of Rize, was found dead in his cell with bruises all over his body, the Gazete Duvar news website reported, citing the Mezopotamya news agency, raising claims of mistreatment from his lawyer and family.

Çabuk, who was arrested in 2016 on charges of membership in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), died October 12 in the Rize prison, where he was sent on January 16, 2020.

He was buried in his hometown of Diyarbakır on Friday.

Çabuk’s family said the autopsy report was not given to them despite their having requested it after they saw his body, which was covered with bruises and apparent marks of beating, and that they feared he had died from torture.

Çabuk’s lawyer claimed his client had been mistreated in the past, adding, “He had a hearing the day he died. If he had been well treated in prison, we wouldn’t have seen the result we see today. It is the prison that killed him, and the Ministry of Justice is responsible.”

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.

An annual report by Amnesty International (AI) on the state of human rights in the world revealed that serious and credible allegations of torture and other ill-treatment were made in Turkey last year.

In its annual human rights report on Turkey, the US Department of State listed credible reports of arbitrary killings, suspicious deaths of persons in custody, forced disappearances, torture, arbitrary arrest and the continued detention of tens of thousands of persons for purported ties to “terrorist” groups or peaceful legitimate speech as being among the significant human rights issues in the country in 2021.

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