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Former diplomats sexually abused with batons and tortured: Bar Association

Former Turkish diplomats arrested over terrorism charges claim they have been tortured as well as sexually abused with police batons, Ankara Bar Association reported.

The torture allegations first emerged on Monday when Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) raised the issue through his Twitter account, calling for the Interior Ministry to explain the incident.

This was followed on Tuesday by the Ankara Lawyer’s Bar Association, which following a series of meetings with the victims, published a report substantiating the allegations.

Gergerlioglu, who is also a human rights activist, said via Twitter: “It has been claimed there are acts of severe torture, including inserting a truncheon into someone’s anus, on former foreign ministry staff who are currently detained at financial crimes unit of the Ankara Police Department. It is reported there are about 100 people tortured.”

Gergerlioglu also submitted a written parliamentary inquiry to Vice President Fuat Oktay on the alleged torture targeting the ex-diplomats.

The bar association created a team of lawyers on Monday in a bid to look into the incident and published the detailed report on Tuesday, following interviews with five detainees who were allegedly subjected to torture.

Diplomat hospitalized

According to the report, the ex-diplomats were endured torture such as sexual harassment with batons, threats of rape, reverse handcuffing, harsh beatings, being knocked unconscious, and being forced to completely undress.

A tortured diplomat was hospitalized due to a severe beating.

 Doctors refused to give a medical report, as it was performed, contrary to law, under police surveillance, the report said.

The detainees reportedly said that they were tortured in a dark room at the Ankara Financial Crimes Police Department.

One detainee reported an officer as saying that they (torture team) were from a professional (special) unit, coming from outside (other than police).

Cevheri Guven, an exiled Turkish journalist and former editor-in-chief of Nokta news magazine, posted a tweet late Tuesday, claiming that the torture team possibly came from Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), based on his findings from the association’s report.

In the post-coup term, the MIT has been accused of abducting dissident people, and of torturing them in specially equipped secret torture cells by special teams.

The MIT has set up secret torture sites to interrogate people with links to the Gulen Movement, according to a report by Correctiv, a non-profit investigative newsroom based in Europe.

In its report, the bar association announced the torture has been going on and urged for an investigation over the incident.

In response, the Ankara Police Department released a statement on Tuesday, denying the torture allegations.

On May 20, Turkish prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 249 foreign ministry staff, with 78 of them being detained during police raids.

The indictment was reportedly related to an exam-cheating offense, a crime that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government blames Gulen Movement for it.

AKP also accuses the movement of orchestrating a failed coup attempt in July 2016.

Torture in Turkey the  norm rather than exception

 John Dalhuisen, Europe Director for Amnesty International, said that reports of abuse including beatings and rape in detention in Turkey are extremely alarming.

“Mass Torture and Ill-Treatment in Turkey” report published in June 2017 by the Sweden-based Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) declared that the torture, abuse, and ill-treatment of detainees and prisoners in Turkey have become the norm rather than the exception.

People are at risk of torture in police custody, especially if they are accused of terrorism or of being linked to the 2016 attempted coup, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), an independent human rights organization which investigates and reports on abuses happening all around the world.

Lawyers confirm severe torture in Halfeti district

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