HRW: Turkish emergency decrees permitting government-sanctioned torture

HRW: Turkish emergency decrees permitting government-sanctioned torture

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Tuesday released a report [text] criticizing Turkey’s emergency decrees have weakened human rights safeguards, resulting in at least 13 instances of abuse including sexual abuse, beatings and sleep deprivation. Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia HRW director, warned: “by removing safeguards against torture, the Turkish government effectively wrote a blank check to law enforcement agencies to torture and mistreat detainees as they like. The cases we have documented seem to indicate that some have done just that. Turkey’s government should reinstate these crucial safeguards now.” The decrees, adopted under a nationwide state of emergency following a failed coup earlier this year, absolve government officials of crimes committed under certain circumstances.

The aftermath of the failed coup attempt continues as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed [JURIST report] that those involved in the coup would “pay a heavy price.” Last month Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said that approximately 32,000 people have been arrested [JURIST report] in relation to the recent coup attempt, and 70,000 have been questioned. In August a group of human rights experts for the UN called upon [JURIST report] Turkey’s government to uphold its international human rights obligations, despite declared emergency following failed coup. Also in August an Istanbul court issued an arrest warrant [JURIST report] for Gullen on charges of orchestrating the attempted coup. Earlier in August Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland traveled [JURIST report] toTurkey to meet with a variety of Turkish officials to urge for respect for the rule of law. In July Amnesty International condemned [JURIST report] Turkey’s decision to issue arrest warrants for 42 journalists. Also in July Erdogan ordered[JURIST report] the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions.