Torture from Freedom reports Turkey’s use of torture to suppress political activity

Although an attempted coup in July 15, 2016 has highlighted Turkey’s place in the world as a torturing state, ill-treatment in Turkish prisons has long been used as a method of suppressing political opponents across the country, the UK-based rights watchdog Torture from Freedom said.

The British watchdog has recently released a detailed briefing based on 60 medico-legal reports, documenting torture in Turkish prisons between 1992 and 2015. In the report a number of methods of torture were described in a total of 60 cases, the majority of which involved men under the age of 40 of Kurdish background. Also, at least 17 different police detention facilities were described, of which İstanbul Police Headquarters on Vatan Street was the most commonly mentioned.

All 60 victims acknowledged the application of blunt force trauma, usually being beaten with an object, while 77 percent were said to have been subject to sexual torture. In 63 percent of all cases, victims said they were given electric shocks, and 58 percent claimed that they have been subject to cold/high pressure water hosing.

“Other methods of torture reported include falaka (beating the soles of the feet), asphyxiation/suffocation, burns, use of stress positions and/or suspension and mock execution, including in at least three cases people being taken to the roof of a building and threatened with being thrown to their death,” the report said.

“However, people tortured in the aftermath of the attempted coup have not yet reached Freedom from Torture’s services as there is typically a significant delay between the incidence of torture and the production by our specialist doctors of a forensic report. This is due to, among other things, the time it takes for a torture survivor to escape or otherwise secure release from detention, leave the country, arrive in the UK and be referred to Freedom from Torture,” the report added.

Freedom from Torture is the mere UK-based human rights organization dedicated to the treatment and rehabilitation of torture survivors. The organization do this by offering services across England and Scotland to around 1,000 torture survivors a year, including psychological and physical therapies, forensic documentation of torture, legal and welfare advice, and creative projects. ( April 16, 2017

Torture occurred in at least 17 different police detention facilities within the towns and cities marked below

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