Turkish Human Rights Foundation saw record number of police mistreatment complaints in 2021

A record number of people complained to the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) in 2021, saying they were subjected to mistreatment in police custody or during a demonstration, according to a recent report.

According to the report 914 people appealed to the TİHV last year, the highest number of annual complaints to the foundation so far. The youngest person to be mistreated was recorded to have been 5 years old, while the oldest was 76. The report said most of the appeals were made to the TIHV’s Istanbul branch, with 307.

Most of the people said they were mistreated during confrontations with the police in street protests.

According to recent data from the TİHV, Turkish police employed unlawful tactics including mistreatment and beating while detaining 13,935 people between 2018 and 2021.

In an earlier statement the TİHV said restricting or suspending the freedoms of assembly was a way to narrow the scope of democratic citizenship and to gradually destroy democracy in Turkey.

There was an increase in complaints after the annual Pride March in June. Most of the complaints came from the LGBT+ community and women, who said the police had used excessive force against them during the march.

Many people from the LGBT+ community complained the police insulted them with homophobic slurs, targeted them with hate speech and humiliated them in detention.

A total of 56 minors complained of police mistreatment, while most of them said they were mistreated during home raids. These were followed by mistreatment in detention, juvenile centers and repatriation centers.

Ill-treatment and torture have become widespread and systematic in Turkish detention centers and prisons. 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 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.

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