Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in its World Report 2018 on Thursday that Turkey’s State of Emergency (OHAL) Procedures Investigation Commissions are not independent of the government interference.
“In January, the government ruled on the establishment of an ad hoc commission to review decisions made under the state of emergency. The commission lacks independence since its seven members are appointed by the same authorities responsible for approving dismissals and closures,” the report noted.
There is a right of further appeal, but mechanisms for redress and compensation are likely to take many years, HRW said.
“In the meantime, those affected have no right to work in public service, their bank accounts are frozen, and passports confiscated. At time of writing, over 102,000 people had applied to the commission, which had not yet begun to issue decisions such as overturning dismissals and closures.”
Applications were made within the OHAL Procedures Investigation Commission offices, set up to investigate rights violations occurred due to post-coup emergency decrees. The commissions started receiving complaints on July 17, this year.
Human rights defenders earlier said that OHAL commissions were established only to avoid possible penalties from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The report said also public officials continued to be dismissed or suspended without due process while hundreds of media outlets, associations, foundations, private hospitals, and educational establishments which were earlier closed in post-coup crackdown remained closed in 2017, and that their assets were confiscated without compensation.
People continued to be arrested and remanded to pretrial custody on terrorism charges, with at least 50,000 including over 500 lawyers remanded to pretrial detention and many more prosecuted since the failed coup,” HRW said.
The HRW also underlined that cases of torture and ill-treatment in police custody were widely reported through 2017, especially by individuals detained under the anti-terror law meanwhile highlighting that some people were abducted: “There were credible reports of unidentified perpetrators believed to be state agents abducting men in at least six cases.”
HRW concluded that legitimate efforts to prosecute those responsible for the 2016 coup attempt were undermined by widespread misuse of counterterrorism laws.