Investigating Istanbul Police’s Alleged Abuse during Suruç Bombing Commemoration

investigating istanbul police's alleged abuse during suruç bombing commemoration

investigating istanbul police’s alleged abuse during suruç bombing commemoration

During a commemoration of the 2015 Islamic State (ISIS) suicide bombing in Suruç, Turkey, on July 20, 2023, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused the Istanbul police of illegally detaining activists and mistreating them and their lawyers. Thirty-three young socialist activists had died in the suicide bombing. While the nation came together to memorialize the fallen, the police’s purported conduct raised questions about the legitimacy of the right to peaceful assembly and fair legal representation.

The police reportedly arbitrarily detained some 45 protesters who were calmly handing out flyers before the rally, according to HRW. The police allegedly used excessive force, assaulted the demonstrators, and detained an additional 154 people on the day of the rally instead of enabling a legal gathering. These protestors endured physical violence from law officials while being “kettled” or compelled to remain in an enclosed area to prevent them from dispersing.

The police allegedly blocked access to attorneys for hours while verbally and physically harassing the attorneys who were present to ensure fair treatment for individuals who were detained. The alleged actions of the Istanbul police, in this case, have caused severe concerns regarding people’s rights to participate in peaceful protests and seek legal representation without fear of abuse or intimidation.

Keep Reading

HRW also drew attention to grave errors in court rulings involving the arrests. Six people were sentenced to pretrial detention based on nebulous and abstract justifications lacking supporting data. Additionally, arrested activists testified that the police used unnecessary and disproportionate force during the arrest, leaving little time for a suitable warning or dispersal.

Unacceptable conditions were present for activists who were detained. Without access to food, water, or adequate restrooms, they were detained for hours on buses and in the courthouse. Their fundamental human rights were infringed by inadequate conditions, endangering their health and well-being.

The majority of the alleged misbehavior by the police was also brought on by the lawyers defending the detainees. According to reports, they suffered physical violence, verbal abuse, and prolonged denials of their requests to meet with clients. The police’s actions not only prevented the inmates from accessing legal counsel, but they also transgressed fundamental rules that guarantee attorneys can practice their profession free from intimidation or interference.

HRW has urged the Turkish government to wholly and swiftly look into the alleged abusive and illegal actions of the Istanbul police. Hugh Williamson, the head of HRW for Europe and Central Asia, emphasized that detainees have the right to legal representation without suffering unfair treatment and that protesters have the right to peaceful demonstrations without fear of police brutality.

The event has drawn the strong condemnation of the Istanbul Bar Association, which has filed a criminal complaint against the responsible police personnel. The Union of Turkish Bar Associations noted that such attacks are blatant violations of international norms governing the function of legal experts and violate the rights and freedoms of lawyers.

A comprehensive and in-depth investigation into the conduct of the Istanbul police is required in light of the events surrounding the July 20, 2023, commemoration of the Suruç bombing. The episode compromised the crucial function of attorneys in preserving the rule of law and guaranteeing justice for all, in addition to violating the activists’ rights to peaceful protest. To hold the guilty parties accountable and safeguard the principles of fair trials and human rights, Turkish authorities must act decisively.

About Wrighter

Wrighter covers news across the global on Human Rights, Migrants Rights, and Labor Rights. Wrighter has vast experience in writing and is a doctor by profession.

Read Previous

Lawyers ‘coach’ illegal Indian immigrants to pretend to be Khalistani for UK asylum: Report

Read Next

Migrants in France Learn to Swim and Overcome Their Crossing

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x