AI to EU: Turkey Still Uses Systematic Torture

In a report given to EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen–Amnesty International said torture was still ‘widespread’ and persistently used by police forces in most of Turkey’s 13 provinces ‘despite recent legal reforms.’

Amnesty International said it found evidence of torture after carrying out visits across Turkey from January to June this year. It lists 28 cases–involving 60 people whom Amnesty claims were victims of torture.

ANKARA (Turkish Daily News)–In a warning to the European Union Wednesday–human rights group Amnesty International claimed systematic torture continues in Turkey. In a report given to EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen–Amnesty International said torture was still "widespread" and persistently used by police forces in most of Turkey’s 13 provinces "despite recent legal reforms."

Amnesty said it found evidence of torture after carrying out visits across Turkey from January to June this year. It lists 28 cases–involving 60 people whom Amnesty claims were victims of torture.

Director of Amnesty International’s EU office Dick Oosting called on the EU’s head office–which will be tabling its annual progress reports on all 13 candidate countries on Oct. 9 to urge Turkey to immediately end incommunicado detention.

"The EU must thoroughly assess the practical impact of any legal reforms on the human rights situation," Oosting said. "Compliance on paper is not enough… This report shows that in Turkey–the reforms are clearly not sufficient."

The report alleges that Turkish authorities continue to use–in their interrogations of detainees–various torture techniques–some that do not leave visible physical marks.

Amnesty said those taken in for questioning are routinely blindfolded–and can face a barrage of torture methods including electric shocks–hanging by the arms and severe beatings among others. "Women and girls taken into custody are reportedly regularly sexually abused and threatened with rape," Amnesty said.

It added that people tortured included suspects involved in pro-Kurdish–Islamist or leftist activities–and those suspected of burglary or theft–many of whom were children.

Amnesty’s report comes as Turkey tries to convince EU governmen’s to set a starting date for membership negotiations. Turkey is eager to have a date announced at the Dec 12-13 summit of EU leaders in Copenhagen–Denmark.

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