Turkish government in landmark apology over death after custody

In the first public statement of its kind, the Turkish Minister of Justice has accepted the responsibility of the state in the case of Engin Çeber who died after being held at the Metris Prison in Istanbul. In the statement, Mehmet Ali Şahin apologized to the man’s relatives.

The statement came last Tuesday after an initial investigation at the prison was concluded. Nineteen officials were removed from duty pending the conclusion of an investigation into allegations of torture.

Twenty-nine-year-old Engin Çeber was arrested along with others on 28 September. They were protesting against the continued impunity of Turkish authorities in the case of the shooting a year earlier of Ferhat Gerçek.

Engin Çeber was alleged to have been stripped naked, kicked and beaten repeatedly with wooden truncheons during the course of his detention in police detention and prison custody. His lawyer said that he was transferred to hospital on 7 October due to the injuries he had sustained. He died from his injuries in the afternoon of 10 October.

Amnesty International, welcoming the statement made by the Justice Minister, has called for a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the circumstances of the death of Engin Çeber.