After being alerted to the torture of 20 inmates by prison guards, Turkish prison bosses instead investigated the tortured inmates for disciplinary breaches, the Diyarbakir Bar Association claimed according to a news report published on Friday.
The Gazete Duvar news portal reported that allegations of systematic torture imposed on inmates held in the Elazig No. 2 Prison were simply ignored and instead inmates were investigated.
Speaking at the commemoration ceremony of the 189th week of the death of Tahir Elci, the former head of the association, Lawyer Muhlis Ogurgul said 20 inmates, who were allegedly subjected to torture, had not undergone medical examination for 12 days after their complaints were lodged.
The lawyer claimed that investigations had rather been launched against 40 inmates by judicial authorities.
Ogurgul said the prison commission of the association had interviewed two of the tortured inmates, N.B. and M.K., on August 10, 2019.
“During the interview, the [two] inmates reported that a group of jailers tortured 20 inmates both on July 25 and August 4. They claimed that the torturers were acting in a group led by the head guard, A.E.,” Ogurgul said.
The spokesman announced that the association had submitted a criminal complaint to the Elazig Prosecutor’s Office over the torture allegations, demanding the allegedly tortured inmates be sent to hospital urgently for medical examination. He claimed that the authorities had not done anything in that regard.
“Instead of approving our demands and investigating the torture claims, they [the authorities] launched discipline investigations against 40 inmates and made them plead. If the authorities and the judiciary remain silent about the torture claims, the officers, who allegedly tortured the inmates, will do more harm,” Ogurgul declared.
Besides the torturers, those who shut their eyes to the torture claims and do not investigate the incident would be a party to the crime, the speaker warned.
“We as the Diyarbakir Bar Association will do our best in order to find out the ones who committed the offense,” Ogurgul vowed.
Earlier in May, Tayip Temel, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), had submitted a parliamentary inquiry addressed to Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul regarding the systematic torture on inmates at the same prison.
In the parliamentary question, Temel voiced the complaints by the inmates who alleged that the prison’s newly-appointed 2nd Director, E.İ., gave an order to the wardens to carry out systematic torture on inmates.
Despite the complaints, no investigations had been launched against E.İ. who also gave similar instructions in his previous post in Sakran Prison in Izmir, the lawmaker claimed.
Last week, similar torture claims had been raised by the Turkish Human Rights Association (IHD) which said tens of inmates were mistreated by 30 jailors in the newly opened Maras Turkoglu Type L Prison.
According to the IHD, the prison officers raided the ward and attacked the inmates who rejected being counted on foot by the prison administration.
The association’s former head Elci, a vocal human rights activist, was killed in broad daylight on November 28, 2015, in Diyarbakir in a gun battle between police and unidentified gunmen.
Elci was making a live public statement, calling for an end to violence between the Turkish state and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, when he was shot dead.
Despite almost four years passing since the incident, not a single suspect has been determined in connection to the murder.
The PKK launched an armed insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984, calling for an independent Kurdish state within the country.
Diyarbakir, a focal point of the conflict between the state and various Kurdish insurgency, known as the unofficial capital of Northern Kurdistan, is one of the largest cities in southeastern Turkey and is often considered the unofficial capital of Northern Kurdistan.