Council of Europe anti-torture Committee remarks on ill-treating of juveniles in Turkey

Strasbourg – ANKARA – Hurriyet – 11.10.2013 – The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has shed light on accusations against Turkey that it has maltreated a number of children in its prisons.

“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,” the CPT stated in a report aired yesterday on its June 2012 ad hoc visit to Turkey, together with the Turkish authorities’ response.

The main objective of the CPT’s 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, they said. 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.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 were made to prevent ill-treatment of juveniles in the future.

On the other hand The CPT’s delegation said they 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.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry published a quick response to the CPT’s report yesterday.

“This particular report by the CPT displays the progress achieved and the improvements recorded on the laws and implementation relating to the juvenile justice system. Turkey attaches importance to the independent monitoring mechanisms of the Council of Europe and strives to follow the recommendations of such mechanisms in line with its obligations stemming from the conventions to which she is a party,” Turkish Foreign Ministry’s Information Department said.