ORHAN KEMAL – A security bill securing the destruction of rights

A security bill securing the destruction of rights There has been an intense debate over the so-called andldquodomestic security billandrdquo in every segment of society, and there have literally been fights in Parliament over this package.If you listen to what government circles say about the package, you may be very confused and can get the misguided impression that the government is just trying to fill the gap in legislation relating to acts of violence.

For example, Prime Minister Ahmet DavutoIlu has said opposition parties will be responsible if a Molotov cocktail is thrown as a result of delays to the passage of the package. He wants to give his followers the impression that there are gaps in current laws when it comes to those who choose to throw Molotov cocktails.

This could not be further from the truth. Courts tend to sentence people with between 10 and 15 years in prison for throwing Molotov cocktails, even if they do not hit their intended target or explode.

If someone is wounded or dies as a result of a Molotov cocktail, the sentence jumps up to life in prison.When DavutoIlu talks about the Molotov cocktail throwers who supposedly go unpunished, he is not only distorting reality but also distracting attention from the huge number of provisions in this package that have nothing to do with violence.

I would like to detail some specifics about the content of the package to show you how this andldquodomestic security billandrdquo destroys freedoms.The package gives the police unlimited authority to conduct body or vehicle searches without getting permission from any judicial authority.

And this authority is not reserved for emergencies or exceptional cases. The police will be able to routinely conduct these searches without the approval of a judge or prosecutorThe bill gives the police the power to take people into custody for up to 48 hours without getting permission from or informing prosecutors or judges, a move that promises a return to systematic torture in TurkeyThe bill also introduces two new justifications for restricting freedoms, namely, andldquoplacement under protectionandrdquo and andldquoremoval.

andrdquo Do not be fooled by these fancy words. The police, with these new provisions, can take anyone into custody for an unspecified amount of time by just saying that they are protecting the person in question.

In the same vein, they can force people to leave a certain location or a city by applying the andldquoremovalandrdquo provision.The bill gives the police authority to use firearms against those bearing explosives, inflammables, incendiaries or similar weapons.

According to a report by the Baran Tursun Foundation, 183 people have been killed by the police in Turkey in the last 8 years. Think about what will happen when this article of the bill, which gives the police the authority to carry out extrajudicial executions, enters into force.

Under this provision, the police can answer the use of even a slingshot with live fire.The bill gives law enforcement officers enormous powers in terms of wiretapping and surveillance.

The police and the gendarmerie can claim to be conducting andldquopreemptive wiretappingandrdquo and listen in on the calls of citizens for 48 hours without a court order And all the wiretaps in Turkey will be overseen by a judge in AnkaraThe bill gives governors the authority to issue direct orders for the police to take urgent measures regarding crimes and their perpetrators. In other words, governors will assume prosecutorial powers.

And finally, there is some very bad news for those who wish to use their right to peaceful assembly.Participating in andldquounlawfulandrdquo meetings and demonstrations and refusing to disperse is considered justification for arrest now.

Meetings and demonstrations are included on the list of crimes that warrant arrest and can result in time in prison.If you consider how easily the police can declare a demonstration andldquounlawful,andrdquo you can imagine how easily people will be put in prison for even a peaceful demonstration under this new legislation.

Well, it is obvious that the security package will secure the destruction of fundamental rights in Turkey.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman