Editor’s Note: Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we will post updates on ongoing cases of torture, new opinion pieces in the media, or news stories or issues that emerge.
Over the weekend, numerous claims of torture have merged from Pakistan. Firstly, last week international think-tank International Crisis Group (ISG) released a report on the state of prisons in Pakistan, saying torture, impunity, and corruption reign in prisons, which detains more than 78,000 people. The News International Pakistan wrote, in an editorial published Sunday, that, “Inmates are regularly tortured and maltreated and there is no system of checks and balances or accountability which would allow prisoners to protest legitimately at their treatment.” There is an urgent need for reform, the editors wrote.
Over the weekend, there were further cases of torture in Pakistan. Police in Lahore were accused of torturing a 60-year-old man to death. Fiza Gilani, Goodwill Ambassador for Women’s Empowerment and daughter of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, condemned police torture of Lady Health Workers (LHW). She also affirmed that was the responsibility of the Punjab government to pay them “dues”, however, I am unsure from this article if that is referring to reparations to torture victims, an obligation under the UN Convention against Torture that Pakistan has ratified. And on Friday, a Lahore court order legal actions taken against police in the torture of Ayesha Malik, daughter of PML-Q leader Abdul Ahad Malik. A medical report was submitted to the court that day that confirmed torture from beating with fists and wooden clubs.
In Turkey, a soldier died after being in a coma for 80 days due to alleged torture from his military superiors, just days before he was set to be discharged. The perpetrators are not yet known, but an investigation is under way. The Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Commission previously had announced plans to investigate claims of mistreatment of conscripted soldiers in the military. A fellow soldier in the same military unit had also reported abuse and torture to the Turkish parliament, which included wading through a sewer, beatings, forced lack of sleep, being forced to sit in the sun, and having hot water poured on him.
Our member centre Balay Rehabilitation Centre from the Philippines is in the news. The centre, which has a prison monitoring programme, has found 16 of 26 inmates they examined had experienced torture and 2 had post-traumatic stress syndrome. Many inmates are also dying from lack of medical attention.
Four organisations have submitted an alternative report to the United Nations on the ongoing and systematic use of torture in Sri Lanka. The report is for consideration of the UN Convention against Torture, which is set to review the situation in Sri Lanka in November. The report remarks on “the failure of the government to comply with the CAT by its failure to provide for a credible and competent investigating mechanism for the investigation of torture allegations, the government’s failure to provide protection to victims by proper legislation relating to protection to the victims and also failures relating to the Attorney General’s Department and the judicial process itself.”
Torture, arbitrary detention, drug crimes: reform of the prison system is urgently needed (Agenzia Fides)
Reforming Pakistan’s Prison System (ICG)
Pakistan: Rotting Prisons (The News International Pakistan)
State brutality: Cops accused of torturing senior to death (The Express Tribune, Pakistan)
Fiza Gilani flays police torture on LHWs (The Nation, Pakistan)
Action against cops ordered after torture on Ayesha proved (The News International Pakistan)
Soldier tortured by superiors dies after 80 days in hospital (Today’s Zaman, Istanbul)
Soldier tortured in same military prison as Kantar sought deputies’ help (Today’s Zaman, Istanbul)
Inmates in Provincial Jails in Southern Philippines Need Medical Help (AllVoices)
An alternative report to the committee against torture (Sri Lanka Guardian)