Amnesty: Turks Rounded Up After Coup Attempt Starved, Tortured, Raped

Amnesty International said thousands rounded up by the Turkish government after the failed coup attempt against the Islamist ruling party have faced rape, starvation and torture behind bars.

The group said Sunday that more than 10,000 people -- mostly soldiers deemed loyal to the secular state but also judges, prosecutors, police and other civil servants, both men and women -- have been detained both in regular jail facilities and in "informal" locations, such as the stables at a riding club and the sports hall at Ankara's police headquarters.

Accounts of the treatment being suffered by detainees were given by lawyers, doctors and one person working at a detention facility. Detainees are being denied access to family members and attorneys and are not being informed of the charges levied against them.

Amnesty heard "extremely alarming accounts of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees," including senior military officers being raped with police batons, food being withheld for up to three days at a time and water being withheld for two days, and detainees being zip-tied into stress positions. Those suffering vicious beatings are often not receiving medical care; one person told the human-rights group that a police doctor was heard saying of a severely beaten detainee, “Let him die. We will say he came to us dead.”

The group found only one detainee who was able to choose her own lawyer. Lawyers have reported detainees coming to interrogations in blood-soaked shirts and some trying to commit suicide.

They said a pattern has emerged in the reports: the higher the rank of the soldier held, the worse the treatment.

“Reports of abuse including beatings and rape in detention are extremely alarming, especially given the scale of detentions that we have seen in the past week. The grim details that we have documented are just a snapshot of the abuses that might be happening in places of detention,” said Amnesty International’s Europe director John Dalhuisen.

“...Despite chilling images and videos of torture that have been widely broadcast across the country, the government has remained conspicuously silent on the abuse. Failing to condemn ill-treatment or torture in these circumstances is tantamount to condoning it."

The Turkish government's purge isn't limited to people they accuse of somehow being connected to the coup attempt.