Back Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Turkey

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published today the report on its June 2012 ad hoc visit to Turkey, together with the Turkish authorities’ response.
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The main objective of the visit was to examine the treatment and conditions of detention of juveniles held in prisons. The visit was triggered by allegations received earlier in 2012 of ill-treatment of juvenile prisoners by prison staff and inter-prisoner violence at Pozantı Prison. The delegation visited Ankara-Sincan Juvenile Prison, to which all the juveniles previously held at Pozantı Prison had been transferred, as well as Istanbul-Maltepe Juvenile Prison and the juvenile units of prisons for adults in Diyarbakır and Gaziantep.

In the course of the visit, the CPT’s delegation interviewed many juveniles who had previously been held at Pozantı Prison. The great majority of them made consistent and credible allegations that they had been victims of frequent and severe violence by fellow inmates in that establishment. In addition, a number of juveniles claimed that they had been physically ill-treated by prison officers upon their arrival at Pozantı Prison. In their response, the Turkish authorities provide information on criminal proceedings and administrative investigations initiated against prison staff as well as juveniles.

As regards the situation of juveniles in the establishments visited during the 2012 visit, hardly any allegations of physical ill-treatment of juveniles were heard at Diyarbakır E-type Prison. In contrast, the CPT received a considerable number of consistent and credible allegations of deliberate physical ill-treatment of juvenile inmates by prison staff at Sincan Juvenile Prison. A number of similar allegations were also received from juveniles at Gaziantep E-type Prison. At Maltepe Prison, the delegation received a number of allegations of excessive use of force by prison officers when intervening to put a stop to inter-prisoner violence. Various recommendations are made to prevent ill-treatment of juveniles in the future.

The CPT’s delegation gained a generally positive impression of two pilot projects which were being implemented in several units at Sincan and Maltepe Prisons, with a view to improving the care and social rehabilitation of juvenile prisoners. They included the permanent presence of a designated prison officer in every detention unit during the day and had resulted in a significant decrease in inter-prisoner violence. In their response, the Turkish authorities provide further details on the progressive extension of the two pilot projects to all juvenile prisons in Turkey, as well as on the training of prison officers involved.

While material conditions were generally of a very good standard at Sincan and Maltepe Prisons, they left a great deal to be desired in the juvenile units at Diyarbakır and Gaziantep E-type Prisons. In their response, the Turkish authorities refer to improvements to the material conditions in the two establishments which have been already implemented or are underway.

The CPT welcomes the fact that, in all the establishments visited, juveniles had unrestricted access to an outdoor exercise yard throughout the day. Further, at Maltepe Prison, and to lesser extent also at Sincan Prison, many juveniles regularly participated in various organised activities. However, despite efforts made by the management, the situation was far from satisfactory at Diyarbakır and Gaziantep E-type Prisons as regards activities for the juvenile inmates.

The visit report and the response have been made public at the request of the Turkish authorities and are available on the CPT’s website: