Turkey not off hook for May unrest, Amnesty says

Oct. 2, 2013 at 11:47 AM

LONDON, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Amnesty International said Wednesday it wanted to police abuse during May riots in Turkey investigated by the appropriate authorities.

Small demonstrations against plans to tear down a historic park in Istanbul escalated to nationwide protests that took on a political tone. By July, AI said more than 8,000 people were reported injured and at least three of the five deaths reported during the protests were tied to police abuse.

At the height of the unrest, Catherine Ashton, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, said she was troubled by reports of close-range use of plastic bullets and water cannons against protesters.

AI published a 53-page report Wednesday on allegations of the excessive use of police force during the summer's unrest. The organization said demonstrators were denied their right to peaceful assembly through the use of intimidation.

"Often no justification was offered for preventing the protests from going ahead, and when justifications were offered, they were inconsistent with the requirements of international human rights law," it said in a statement.

The organization said it was calling on Turkish officials to meet their international rights obligations. Relevant authorities are asked to launch "effective investigations" into the use of force by police.

Amnesty's report follows reforms announced by Ankara meant to resolve long-standing issues with the Kurdish minority in Turkey.

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