Man dies in custody after alleged police brutality

Serhat Kahyaoğlu, a man who on the night of Sunday’s local elections was detained in İstanbul for celebrating by firing a gun into the air, died in police custody after he was allegedly assaulted by officers, the Mezopotamya news agency reported on Thursday.

The report quoted a man who was detained along with Kahyaoğlu who said, “The officers were brutally beating him, and Serhat was shouting at them to stop. When they brought him back to where I was 15 minutes later, he was dead.”

Kahyaoğlu was detained upon the complaints of neighbors after shooting a gun into the air from the window of his apartment. The report indicated that he resisted detention, which led to an altercation with the officers.

While the police initially claimed that he took his own life by jumping from the fourth floor of a building, an autopsy carried out by the Council of Forensic Medicine found several marks of violence on his head and body.

İstanbul prosecutors have launched an investigation into Kahyaoğlu’s death although no officer has faced suspension, the report said.

Torture in custody and prisons is a systematic problem in Turkey about which local rights groups, parliamentarians and state authorities receive hundreds of complaints every year.

Earlier this year, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution that expressed concern about an increase in alleged incidents reported from Turkey in past years.

Rights groups also complain about a climate of impunity, with most complaints against alleged incidents leading to no substantial investigation, in some cases despite available CCTV footage.

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