Turkey: New report reveals systematic torture as European Commission assesses candidate countries

The 14-page report, 'Turkey: systematic torture continues in 2002', launched today in Brussels, contains summaries of case histories of more than 60 people tortured or ill-treated in Turkey between January and early June 2002.

Amnesty International is calling on the EU to urge Turkey to set a date for the abolition of incommunicado detention - a major facilitator of torture.

The report shows that victims of torture have been those who have filed petitions for Kurdish education, people suspected of pro-Kurdish, Islamist or leftist activities, and also detainees suspected of criminal activities.

Despite recent legal reforms such as reduced duration of incommunicado detention, the report shows that in Turkey widespread and systematic use of torture continues unabated. In the majority of cases documented by Amnesty International, torture was carried out within the first 24 hours of detention.

Methods of torture detailed in Amnesty International's report include:

- electric shocks, including to the genitals

- hanging by the arms ('Palestinian hanging'

- beating of the soles of the feet ('falaka')

- spraying with cold pressurised water

- sexual abuse

- death and rape threats

- sleep deprivation and denial of food and water

Amnesty International has observed that in 2002 there has been an increase in Turkey in the use of torture methods that do not leave visible marks.

Amnesty International's EU Office Director Dick Oosting said:

'The EU must thoroughly assess the practical impact of any legal reforms on the human rights situation in Turkey, and indeed in all EU candidate countries. Compliance on paper is not enough. When assessing progress on human rights, the criteria must be what is happening in practice. As far as torture is concerned this report shows that in Turkey the reforms are clearly not sufficient.

'Amnesty International calls on the European Union to urge Turkey to immediately end incommunicado detention. As part of its assessment of Turkey's human rights reforms, the EU should obtain a commitment from the Turkish government to end a practice that is an open invitation to torture and ill-treatment of detainees.

'Amnesty International has no opinion on whether Turkey should or should not be admitted as a member of the European Union. However, the assessment of all candidate countries' human rights performance is an important statement about the level of human rights protection the citizens of an enlarged EU will enjoy. Only the highest standards should be good enough for the Europe of tomorrow.'

Amnesty International is forwarding the 'Systematic torture', together with an assessment of the most recent legal reforms, to Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen and representatives of all EU governments. The human rights organisation has also informed the European Commission of its concerns in the other candidate countries through its report 'Concerns in Europe January-June 2002'.

Read the Reports:

- 'Turkey: systematic torture continues in 2002'

- 'Concerns in Europe January-June 2002' /p>

View latest press releases