Amnesty International has urged Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül to investigate the claims that an inmate was subjected to torture in a prison in the Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Diyarbakır.
Mehmet Sıddık Meşe, who was imprisoned on fraud charges, was allegedly subjected to a severe beating by guards on Dec. 1 and was denied access to urgent medical care, as well as an examination by medical forensic staff.
According to the testimony that Meşe provided to his lawyer in the morning of Dec. 1, he was taken from the prison dormitory by four prison guards into a separate area dubbed the "Aquarium" where he was beaten with wooden batons under his feet as well as all over his face and body by at least four guards for about 40 minutes.
Meşe’s lawyer saw him on Dec. 2 and could verify that his face was completely bruised and swollen, both his eyes were bloodshot and his feet were entirely bruised. The inmate also complained about dizziness and pain in his feet as well as his back.
He was not taken into a hospital for an independent forensic medical examination and the prison doctor’s examination report concluded that he had not been beaten. For at least seven days, he was taken to the prison infirmary where the only treatment applied was ice and cold water.
An investigation following a criminal complaint by his lawyer was eventually launched on Dec. 3. The prosecutor responsible for prisons interviewed Meşe on Dec. 8 via video conference, but in the absence of his lawyer despite the request of the lawyer to be present.
According to his lawyer, the camera footage of the prison in the investigation file was incomplete, only displaying a two-minute period. The prison prosecutor refused to process the request made as part of their criminal complaint to take Meşe to a hospital for examination in line with the Istanbul Protocol - which sets out guidelines for effective legal and medical investigations into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment.
'Lack of evidence'
Based on the statements of the guards suspected of being the perpetrators and the prison doctor’s report indicating that there was no physical evidence of bodily injuries, the prison prosecutor made a decision not to prosecute on Dec. 9 on the grounds that there was a lack of evidence.
Amnesty International called on Minister Gül to ensure that Meşe has urgent access to adequate medical care and is examined by independent forensic medical staff. It also asked the minister to make sure that a new prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment is launched and all those responsible are brought to justice in fair trials.
There has been a serious increase in allegations of torture in places of detention, including prisons, in Turkey.