Investigate torture claims in Diyarbakir prison

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Mehmet Sıddık Meşe was remanded in Diyarbakir T Type prison No. 3 on 27 June 2020 on a fraud charge, pending his trial. On 1 December, at around 10am, another prisoner responsible for the dormitory spoke to Mehmet Sıddık Meşe about problems he was having with some of the other prisoners. So that he would not be overheard, Mehmet Sıddık Meşe wrote a note to the prisoner saying he should raise these issues with the prison management. The prisoner gave the note to guards who came into the dormitory, stating that Mehmet Sıddık Meşe had written it. In response, the prison guards allegedly took Mehmet Sıddık Meşe out of the dormitory into a separate room called the ‘Aquarium’ where the view of the surveillance camera was partially obstructed by a poster or a banner. In that room, at least four prison guards subjected him to a severe beating that allegedly lasted up to 40 minutes, including under his feet with a wooden baton.  

On 2 December, Mehmet Sıddık Meşe told his relatives about the torture during their weekly telephone call. His lawyer was alerted and attended the prison the same day. He examined Mehmet Sıddık Meşe and documented the injuries he had sustained. On 3 December, an investigation was eventually launched following the lawyer’s criminal complaint. According to Mehmet Sıddık Meşe, the prison doctor examined him in detail on 3 December and made extensive notes, however the medical report states there was no beating. 

In recent years, there has been a serious increase in allegations of torture in places of detention, including prisons, in Turkey. Turkish Law authorizes prosecutors’ offices to investigate all allegations of torture and other ill-treatment ex-officio. Complaints of torture and other ill-treatment may also be brought to Ombudsperson’s Office and the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey. The Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey is entitled to work as national preventive mechanism within the framework of the provisions set out in the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. However, the relevant legal and institutional framework of Turkey fails in ensuring the absolute prohibition of torture and remains ineffective to prevent impunity in the country.  

Torture or other ill-treatment is absolutely prohibited under both domestic law and international human rights law. 

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