Opposition MP questions surge in allegations of police mistreatment in Turkey

An opposition lawmaker has posed a parliamentary question to the interior and justice ministers about the recent surge in complaints alleging police mistreatment in Turkey, citing a report from the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV), Turkish Minute reported on Friday.

Referring to the “2022 Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers Report,” Mustafa Yeneroğlu, a former politician from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and current deputy chairman of the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), stated that the number of people who filed complaints alleging police mistreatment and brutality in 2022 increased by 22 percent in comparison to the previous year.

Yeneroğlu said the foundation last year received its highest number of complaints since 2001 and that the youngest recorded victim of police mistreatment was just 3 years old.

“According to the report, 497 individuals were handcuffed from behind, 80 people were subjected to sexual harassment and three people were raped. It has been determined that 43.5 percent of the applicants have experienced torture involving sexual violence,” the MP added.

Yeneroğlu emphasized that although the official number of sick individuals behind bars hasn’t been disclosed, the deaths of critically ill inmates are a known phenomenon in Turkey. He added that the lives of critically ill inmates are under threat because of reports by the Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK), affiliated with the Ministry of Justice, stating that they “are fit to stay in prison.”

“What work has your ministry conducted regarding allegations of systematic and widespread torture and ill-treatment as part of severe human rights violations in our country?” Yeneroğlu asked Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya and Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç in his parliamentary question.

Yeneroğlu also asked about the number of complaints that have been submitted to prosecutors regarding incidents of torture and ill-treatment in prisons and the outcome of these complaints, the total number of inmates who have died in prisons in the years 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 according to official figures, the measures taken for elderly and sick inmates in prisons and why the prison boards issue unfavorable reports specifically concerning inmates held on political charges.

According to a recent report by Turkey’s Human Rights Association (İHD), there are at least 1,517 sick inmates in Turkish prisons, 651 of whom are critically ill.

At least 81 inmates died in Turkish prisons last year, with six of the sick prisoners passing away shortly after their release, the report said.

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