Less Turkish police, prison brutality: rights committee

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Turkey has made progress in reducing violence by security forces in police stations and remand prisons, a human rights committee reported Thursday.

A Council of Europe anti-torture committee delegation on a visit in June 2009 "gained the district impression that the downward trend seen in recent years in the incidence and the severity of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials was continuing," it said in a report.

"Nevertheless a number of credible allegations of recent physical ill-treatment were received, which concerned mainly excessive use of force during apprehension."

The authors of the report criticised the conditions in which immigration detainees were held, highlighting "severe overcrowding, dilapidated conditions, limited access to natural light, poor hygiene, lack of outdoor exercise etc."

Conditions were particularly unsatisfactory at the Edirne detention centre near the border with Bulgaria. But after the vist the Turkish authorities told the committee the unit for male adult detainees had been withdrawn from service.

Many of the prisons visited were overcrowded, the committe's report said, while healthcare was inadequate and doctors in "dramatically" short supply. It said the delegation had received hardly any allegations of physical ill-tretament of prisoners by prison staff except at the institution in Konya, in central Turkey.

© 2011 AFP

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