October 2, 2013 - 14:25 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Turkish authorities committed human rights violations on a massive scale in the government’s attempts to crush the Gezi Park protests this summer, Amnesty International revealed in a new report published Wednesday, Oct 2.
The 70-page report, Gezi Park protests: Brutal denial of the right to peaceful assembly in Turkey, details how the use of live ammunition, tear gas, water cannon, plastic bullets and beatings of protestors left more than 8,000 people injured at the scene of demonstrations. The deaths of at least three protestors have been linked to the abusive use of force by police.
The report also documents the failure to bring these abuses to justice and the subsequent prosecution and harassment of those that took part in the protests.
“The attempt to smash the Gezi Park protest movement involved a string of human rights violations on a huge scale. They include the wholesale denial of the right to peaceful assembly and violations of the rights to life, liberty and the freedom from torture and ill-treatment,” Amnesty’s expert on Turkey, Andrew Gardner, said.
“The levels of violence used by police in the course of the Gezi Park protests clearly show what happens when poorly trained, poorly supervised police officers are instructed to use force – and encouraged to use it unsparingly – safe in the knowledge that they are unlikely ever to be identified or prosecuted for their abuses… The Turkish government must learn to tolerate the dissenting opinions expressed through street protests and ensure that police are equipped, trained and instructed to police them lawfully,” he said.
Amnesty monitored demonstrations in Istanbul and Ankara and interviewed scores of people in four cities across Turkey who were injured by police or who were unlawfully detained, beaten or sexually assaulted during detention.
The vast majority of police abuses already look likely to go unpunished, while many of those who organized and participated in the protests have been vilified, abused and now face prosecution on unfair or inflated charges. Those who assisted protestors or reported on the protests – such as doctors, lawyers, journalists and even businesses – have faced threats and harassment, AI said.
Amnesty is calling on governments and suppliers of riot control equipment to impose an immediate export or transfer ban on Turkey: In particular tear gas, pepper sprays and plastic bullets.
Such a ban should remain in force until the Turkish authorities allow prompt, independent and impartial investigations into the allegations of abusive or arbitrary use of force, and demonstrate a commitment to their use in accordance with international standards.