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Iran Press TV

UN concerned by Turkey's alleged torture of dissidents

Iran Press TV

Tue Feb 27, 2018 06:07PM

Turkey's alleged torture of prisoners has alarmed the United Nations as an official says Ankara is failing to respond to allegations of ill-treatment of prisoners.

Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture, said beatings, electrical shocks and threats were allegedly practiced against prisoners in Turkey and Ankara was failing to clarify the situation in its prison facilities.

Melzer said he was specifically alarmed by reports that people jailed for suspected links to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric blamed for a failed coup in 2016, or those with suspected connections to Kurdish militants, have been "exposed to brutal interrogation techniques."

The senior UN official was quoted in a formal statement as saying that "no serious measures appeared to have been taken by the authorities to investigate these allegations or to hold perpetrators accountable."

There was no immediate comment from the Turkish government. Authorities have in the past rejected similar allegations, insisting that Ankara's policy was "zero tolerance" for torture. However, recurrent reports have emerged showing that prisoners have been subject to ill-treatment.

More than 50,000 people have been arrested over links to Gulen and his religious and cultural network. Gulen denies any involvement in the July 15, 2016 abortive coup, which left more than 250 people dead. The cleric has also warned that the crackdown on suspected coup plotters and their sympathizers may be a ploy by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a former ally of Gulen, to cement the position of the ruling Justice and Development Party.

Turkey is also in the middle of a crackdown on Kurds in its southern territories and many, including Kurdish civilians, have been arrested under a state of emergency that has been renewed several times over the past two years.

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