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Council of Europe Anti-Torture Committee examined situation in Turkish F-type prisons

The assessment of the communal activities for inmates of the new F-type prisons and the examination of the implementation of recent legal reforms concerning police custody was the main objective of a visit to Turkey of the Council’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) in March 2002. Today the findings ("preliminary observations") are published, in agreement with the Turkish authorities, together with their response.
23/07/2002
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The Anti-Torture Committee noted progress as regards communal activities at Sincan F-Type Prison. Some of the workshops are now up and running, regular association (conversation) periods for up to ten prisoners at a time have been introduced. Arrangements for open visits and access to the telephone are developing.

However, the delegation found that practically all the prisoners held under the "Law to Fight Terrorism" were still refusing to take up the offer of communal activities. In order to promote confidence among these prisoners, the CPT delegation calls upon the Turkish authorities to drop the existing precondition for participation in the recently introduced association periods. All prisoners should be offered this possibility, irrespective of whether they already take part in another communal activity, concluded the CPT. In their response, the Turkish authorities put forward arguments in favour of maintaining the current precondition. This issue is the subject of ongoing discussions between the CPT and the Turkish authorities.

The delegation also gathered evidence of the gradual implementation of the new measures concerning police custody. However, it found that the issue of access to lawyers for persons detained by the police clearly has been, and apparently remains, a significant problem in Diyarbakır. The Turkish authorities highlight measures taken to address this point.

The preliminary observations and the Turkish authorities’ response are available at the following internet address: www.cpt.coe.int