Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ceber Death Raises Questions About Torture, Prisons

From TDZ:
The recent death of an inmate allegedly resulting from torture at the hands of police and prison guards has once again shown that Turkey still has problems with human rights, despite a zero-tolerance policy on inhumane treatment and torture.

Human rights groups in Turkey have said the government’s previous launch of a zero-tolerance policy on torture and abuse fell short of expectations. “The death of Engin Ceber has shown that Turkey still has a serious problem with human rights violations,” noted Ömer Faruk Gergenlioğlu, chairman of the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUM-DER).

Ceber, an inmate at İstanbul’s Metris Prison, died last week after allegedly being abused and tortured at the hands of police and prison guards. Ceber was reportedly taken into custody along with three friends in İstanbul for selling a leftist magazine. They were later convicted and sent to Metris Prison. The four inmates were allegedly subjected to disproportionate use of force and heavy torture by policemen and prison guards. Ceber was taken to the hospital last week and was pronounced dead there after suffering from a brain hemorrhage as a result of a head injury. Ceber’s lawyer, Taylan Tanay, said his client complained several times that he was frequently subjected to inhumane treatment in prison. Ceber was buried in İstanbul’s Kocatepe Cemetry.

“How can anyone explain why a person selling a legal magazine was taken into custody and convicted? This is not acceptable. We say there is zero tolerance on torture, but people still lose their lives because of it. Turkey has geared up over the last couple of years to protect human rights as part of efforts to become an EU member, but changes to this end, including the zero-tolerance policy on abuse, remain nothing but words,” Gergenlioğlu said.

Turkey’s attempts to harmonize with the European Union norms had produced a zero-tolerance policy on torture and abuse as part of sweeping changes made to the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).
Click here for coverage from the International Herald Tribune.

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