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Turkish authorities accused of sexual abuse and severe beating of protesters

A report by Amnesty International also recorded examples of police firing plastic bullets directly at protesters’ heads.

(Amnesty International/YouTube)

THE TURKISH AUTHORITIES have been accused of “gross human rights violations” including sexual assaults and severe beatings in attempts to crush the Gezi Park protests during the summer, in a report by Amnesty International.

The report, entitled ‘Gezi Park Protests: Brutal denial of the right to peaceful assembly in Turkey’, reveals how the use of live ammunition, tear gas, water cannon, plastic bullets and beatings of protestors left more than 8,000 people injured. The deaths of at least three protestors have been linked to the use of force by police.

The organisation monitored demonstrations in Istanbul and Ankara and interviewed scores of people in four cities across Turkey who say they were injured by police or who were unlawfully detained, beaten or sexually assaulted during detention. Some of the victims of attacks by police can be seen in the video above.

Included in the report are examples of:

  • Protesters and others severely beaten resulting in one death and scores of injuries;
  • Police frequently firing plastic bullets directly at protesters’ heads and upper bodies;
  • Tear gas canisters routinely fired directly at protestors, bystanders and sometimes into residential buildings and medical facilities, resulting in hundreds of injuries and, according to witnesses, at least one death;
  • Chemical irritants added to water cannon supply tanks;
  • Women protesters sexually abused by law enforcement officials;
  • Live ammunition used, killing one protester.

Amnesty said the vast majority of police abuses already look likely to go unpunished.

Commenting on the report, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, Colm O’Gorman said today that hundreds of people are facing prosecution simply for participating in demonstrations.

“Many of those accused of organising protests are being investigated under anti-terrorism legislation,” he said. “The Turkish government must learn to tolerate people peacefully expressing their opinions on the street and ensure that police are properly equipped and trained.”

Amnesty International is calling on governments and suppliers of riot control equipment to impose an immediate export or transfer ban on Turkey. This should particularly apply to tear gas and pepper sprays; plastic bullets and other kinetic impact projectiles, it said.

Read: Medical volunteer in Turkey fighting for his life after being beaten by police>

PICS: Turkish police storm Gezi Park with tear gas and water cannons>

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