TORTURE ALERT: Ankara Bar Association announces new mass torture allegations
On January 25, 2022, Ankara Bar Association announced new mass torture alert in Ankara’s anti-terror unit (Ankara TEM), and that they will investigate and publish a report, and file criminal complaint in line with the findings of the report.
These recent torture allegations have been widely reported by various news outlets from January 25, 2021. It was alleged that the detainees were subjected to torture at a police detention centre in Ankara, the news websites reported.
According to media reports, 300 people have been detained in the last two weeks in police raids across Turkey as part of investigations overseen by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Some of the detainees were beaten and forced to sign false confessions while in police custody, the website reported, citing their families and lawyers.
Human rights defender and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu has called on Turkish authorities to investigate claims of mistreatment and torture at the Ankara police centre.
The announcement of Ankara Bar Association regarding this case reads:
“OUR STATEMENT ABOUT TORTURE ALLEGATIONS IN ANKARA ANTI-TERROR BRANCH (Ankara TEM) DIRECTORATE:
On 25.01.2022 at around 08:15 am, our centre was informed of the allegations that a group of suspects in detention were exposed to torture for 7 days at Ankara Anti-Terror Branch Directorate, and in addition, a suspect’s relative made an application in this regard.
Upon being informed of the incident, the names of the suspects alleged to have been tortured were identified, and as a result of the meeting held at around 08.30 with the Chair of the Ankara Bar Association and the members of the board of directors, it was immediately decided to assign some of our centre member colleagues to investigate the allegations of torture.
Our assigned colleagues reached the Ankara TEM Branch Directorate in the morning hours and learned that the suspects were referred to the Criminal Judgeship of Peace with a request to extend the detention period. After the proceedings at the Criminal Judgeship of Peace were completed and the suspects were sent back to the Ankara TEM Branch Office, the interview and determination procedures started.
We would like to express to the public that the Ankara Bar Association Human Rights Centre is aware of all the allegations of rights violations, especially within the borders of our city, that the working system created with the past experiences intervenes immediately, especially the allegations of torture and ill-treatment in custody, that all of these allegations are recorded and criminal complaints are made. However, we would like to remind the relevant authorities that all claims of violation of rights detected by our centre will be shared with the public, and that this is a part of the human rights struggle. In this sense, a report will be made before the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office based on the report prepared by the Human Rights Centre of our Bar.”
Also, on January 26, 2021, Ankara Bar Association published the meeting minutes of their meeting with Board of Directors where it is stated that it was decided that a criminal complaint will be filed at the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office based on the aforementioned report.