Rights group says Turkey needs better rules on use of tear gas

July 17, 2013 at 10:22 AM

ISTANBUL, Turkey, July 17 (UPI) -- Turkey needs better guidelines on the use of tear gas, a human rights groups said Wednesday, citing reports gas canisters were fired directly at protesters.

A report by Human Rights Watch said Turkish forces' use of excessive or violent use of tear gas during recent anti-government demonstrations had caused serious injuries, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

The report documented 10 instances where protesters said they had been seriously injured when police fired directly at them. Injuries included loss of an eye, broken limbs and skull fractures.

HRW added that the documented cases were only a few of the "dozens" of serious head or upper body injuries recorded by local doctors and human rights groups during the protests.

The human rights organization said a circular recently distributed to Turkish police stations gave instructions on the use of water cannons before firing tear gar, adding that enclosed spaces such as schools and hospitals should not be targeted. HRW said the circular did not clarify guidelines about directly targeting people at close range.

HRW quoted a police union spokesman as saying officers were trained in the proper use of tear gas, but did not properly "analyze the situation."

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