“Police officer banged my client’s head on the floor, causing marks and bruises on his head. When I complaint about ill-treatment, the police said it would be very easy for him to have me arrested for being a member of the Gülen movement as well,” a lawyer told Human Rights Watch.

In a 43-page report, “A Blank Check: Turkey’s Post-Coup Suspension of Safeguards Against Torture,” published on Tuesday, HRW documented 13 specific abuse incidents concerning Turkey’s post-coup detainees. The alleged abuse cases ranged from use of stress positions and sleep deprivation to severe beatings, sexual abuse and the threat of rape.

HRW said it had interviewed more than 40 lawyers, human rights activists, former detainees, medical personnel, and forensic specialists before preparing the report.

The watchdog said Turkey’s post-coup emergency decrees facilitated torture as they removed safeguards against ill-treatment.

What follows is the full text of the second abusive incident published by HRW on Tuesday.


“One lawyer who was assigned a high-ranking officer as a client in the first few days after the coup attempt told Human Rights Watch that when she first saw her client in the Ankara Security Directorate he had marks and injuries on his forehead and neck, scratches on his arms, bruises from the hand-cuffs, scratches and bruises on top of his feet. She said he also had a wound on his leg that looked like a piece of flesh was missing.

“The lawyer told Human Rights that she requested a private meeting with her client, but that the police refused, threatening to investigate her as well for being a member of the Gülen movement. The prosecutor also denied her request. The lawyer also demanded to see the medical examination report, but the prosecutor said that he could not find one.

“The lawyer saw her client next during the court hearing to sanction his arrest. He was the only defendant in court. Nonetheless, the lawyer said, there were about 12 police-officers from the anti-terror department in the court-room. Normally, she said, there would only be a few members of the gendarmerie there. The police-officer sitting next to her client had placed his gun on the table, in a move that the lawyer interpreted as a threat.

During the court hearing, the lawyer said, she told the judge that her client had been detained for 48 hours without food and water and that he had bruises, scars and other injuries, but that there was no medical report. At that point, she said, one of the police- officers left the room and returned with a senior police-officer who started taking notes. At some point during the hearing, she said, the police-officer sitting next to her client went up to the judge and started whispering something to him that made him visibly upset.

“According to the lawyer, her client said during the hearing that he had first been detained in a sports hall where police had pushed and beaten him, causing the scratches on his arms and body. They had banged his head on the floor, causing the marks and bruises on his head. He did not, however, offer any explanation for the injuries on his legs and feet, including the flesh wound, the lawyer said.

During a break before the judge announced his decision, the lawyer said, the senior police- officer who had arrived when she started complaining about ill-treatment came up to her and threatened her, saying that it would be very easy for him to have her arrested as well. The judge sent her client to pre-trial detention.

“For the next ten days, the lawyer was unable to see her client, she said.”