Signed by the Center for Lawyers' Rights, Prison Council and Center for Human Rights affiliated with the Ankara Bar Association, the report has shared detailed information on the allegations of torture, including the accounts of the ones who claim that they were tortured in custody.
The Ankara Bar Association has prepared a report regarding the allegations of torture in custody in the Financial Crimes Investigation Bureau of the Ankara Directorate General of Security.
Signed by the Center for Lawyers’ Rights, Prison Council and Center for Human Rights affiliated with the Ankara Bar Association, the report has shared detailed information on the allegations of torture, including the accounts of the ones who claim that they were tortured in custody.
On May 26, 2019, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Kocaeli MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu posted a message on his Twitter account and said, “There are allegations of torture in Ankara Security.”
In the following days, it was reported in the news that around 100 diplomats, who were previously discharged from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by a statutory decree and were being held in custody in the Financial Crimes Investigation Bureau, were tortured in detention.
Among the allegations of torture were “beating the detained until they pass out, making them watch the ones harassed and tortured, at least four incidents of torture incompatible with human dignity, referral of a beaten diplomat to hospital and the failure of the doctors to report it.”
It has been further claimed that “the torture is still continuing and the detained have been forced to sign depositions by torture.”
ANKARA BAR ASSOCIATION
CENTER FOR ATTORNEY RIGHTS, PENAL INSTITUTION BOARD AND CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
REPORT REGARDING CLAIMS OF TORTURE IN ANKARA PROVINCIAL POLICE HEADQUARTERS INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL CRIMES
Subject: The report regarding the meetings and inspections performed by Ankara Bar Association Center for Attorney Rights, Penal Institutions Board and Center for Human Rights into claims about torture in the Investigation Department of Financial Crimes which appeared on the press and exposed to public on 26 May 2019.
Initially, a message was shared on Kocaeli Lawmaker Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu’s account on Twitter, the micro-blogging site, on 26 May 2019 that “there are claims of torture in Ankara Police Headquarters.” In later hours and days, claims of “beating to unconsciousness, harassment and forcing to watch those who were being tortured, the fact that acts of torture that were incompatible with human dignity were inflicted in at least four cases, the acts were performed by persons coming to Ankara Police Headquarters from outside who identified themselves as MIT; a diplomat who was beaten to unconscious was hospitalized; doctors did not write any report regarding the incident; the torture continued and it was openly stated that it would get worse; attempts were made to get statements through torture ” appeared on the media, thus revealed to the public about some 100 people identified to be Foreign Ministry Staff dismissed through emergency decrees who were kept in custody in Investigation Department of Financial Crimes.”
The attorneys who provided legal assistance for the persons in custody submitted complaints to the center and boards of our bar association regarding the claims of ill-treatment and torture.
Besides complaints about torture, complaints have been submitted regarding the fact that the colleagues who went to see their clients under their duty of defense were forced to sign an affidavit in accordance with orders from the prosecutor’s office, but in violation of the provisions of the CMK, that said, “I declare and undertake that I will take the power of attorney regarding my representing the person I will see for the investigation file … and present it to Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office so that it is included in the investigation file (Attachment-1 Order letter from the prosecutor’s office and the record demanded to be signed).
Our Bar Association’s Center for Attorney Rights, Penal Institutions Board and Center for Human Rights made appointments for the on-site inspection of the claims of ill-treatment and torture and well as the claims that the attorneys were demanded to hand in an affidavit for presenting the power of attorney, which is a violation of CMK provisions, and the appointed colleagues went over to the Ankara Provincial Police Headquarters Investigation Department of Financial Crimes on 27 May 2019 to hold interviews and carry out inspections.
The Trip to Investigation Department of Financial Crimes and the Happenings
The officials from Center for Attorney Rights of our bar association went over to the department first. As a result of the meetings regarding the order from the prosecutor’s office about taking an affidavit from attorneys for presenting the power of attorney, which violates the provisions of the CMK, the practice of taking an affidavit was discontinued by the chiefs in the Investigation Department of Financial Crimes.
After the discontinuation of the practice of taking an affidavit as a result of the meetings held by the Center of Attorney Rights of our bar association, a second panel comprising members of Penal Institutions Board, Center for Human Rights, and Center for Attorney Rights who visit the Investigation Department of Financial Crimes held a meeting in a closed room with the six persons whose names had been reported regarding the claims of ill-treatment and torture, and statements were officially recorded and signed in the company of the persons who suffered ill-treatment and torture. (The names of the persons interviewed are kept confidential in this report.)
Established by the written statements and as a result of the interviews, the findings regarding the claims of ill-treatment and torture are as follows:
After these events, 3 said they were stripped completely naked, one said he was stripped waist down, one said his trousers were stripped half down; and then 4 persons, the completely and waist-down naked ones, were handcuffed in the back, put in fetus position, had truncheons brush their anal areas; they were subjected to threats and insults all the while; they were given one to two minutes after which they were told “We now move into the next stage” and a substance which they thought to be oil or lubricant was poured on their anal areas and truncheons were brushed around their anal areas. In addition, 1 person stated that they tried to take his trousers off, which they managed to lower halfway, he forced them back up, and he was tortured by having the truncheon brushed over his body and clothes.
When our colleagues who were appointed by the central office and boards of our bar association informed the officials at the Investigation Department of Financial Crimes about the names of the persons with whom they wanted to interview, they were told that statements were taken from 3 of these persons since they wanted to take advantage of the provisions of effective remorse and they were then released. The files of these persons had been reviewed and no finding about ill-treatment or torture had been reported in their files. Similarly, the reports of the persons with whom interviews were conducted and about whom the findings above are confirmed had been reviewed and it was reported that there was no sign of battery or coercion. The persons with whom the interviews that revealed the findings were made named the 3 persons who took advantage of the effective remorse and were released and stated that they heard from others who went to the interviews and from still others whom they met at the Criminal Judgeship of Peace when they were transferred to the courthouse for the time extension order for detention that they were subjected to ill-treatment and torture like they were. As stated in the ECHR as well as other international conventions, the presence of the doctor’s report per se is not a sign that no ill-treatment or torture was experienced. When the accounts that reveal the findings above are evaluated as a whole, (it can be seen that) the persons were illegally taken to doctor’s examination in company of a police officer. The accounts of the persons who were heard do not contradict one another. When the accounts are evaluated as a whole, they confirm the fact that these persons were subjected to torture and ill-treatment in a way that would not leave any mark of battery or coercion.
Article 17/3 of the Constitution, which stipulates a ban on torture, reads as follows:
“No one shall be subjected to torture or mal-treatment; no one shall be subjected to penalties or treatment incompatible with human dignity.”
In addition, Article 3 of the ECHR is as follows:
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Moreover, Article 1 of Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment states that
“For the purposes of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.”
These provisions ban torture and ill-treatment in international and national norms.
Furthermore, Article 4 of Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is as follows:
“Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.
Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature.”
International norms stipulate that torture should be defined as crime and penal sanctions should be enforced. Turkey is one of the state parties in the abovementioned convention.
Article 94 of the Turkish Penal Code, titled Torture, is as follows:
“(1) A public officer who performs any act towards a person that is incompatible with human dignity, and which causes that person to suffer physically or mentally, or affects the person’s capacity to perceive or his ability to act of his own will or insults them shall be sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of three to twelve years.
(2) If the offence is committed against:
(3) If the act is conducted in the manner of sexual harassment, the offender shall be sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of ten to fifteen years,
(4) Any other person who participates in the commission of this offence shall be sentenced in a manner equivalent to the public officer.
(5) If the offence is committed by way of omission there shall be no reduction in the sentence.”
In our Turkish Penal code, the crime of torture entails penal sanctions. In this respect, considering the findings above, an investigation must be launched against the concerned parties and not also the persons who ignore the crime of torture and commit the crime of torture but also anybody else who attacked the physical and mental entity of others must be identified and punished.
Therefore, the law stipulates that
In this respect, we bring to the public attention the fact that we are ready to present Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office with the records and documents drawn up by the members of our bar association in the boards and central office in case or when they are demanded and we as Ankara Bar Association will continue the legal struggle to the very end so that torture and ill-treatment can be eliminated.