Güven warns of tragedy ready to happen in prisons

DTK co-chair Leyla Guven warned that "a strategic mistake can cause the death of hundreds of thousands of prisoners". She was referring to the new law to be brought to parliament which should allow the release of prisoners.

Democratic Society Congress (DTK) co-chair Leyla Güven made a statement on behalf of the Crisis Coordination Center set up to deal with the coronavirus emergency.

Güven spoke about the prisoners at risk of contracting the infection and the sentence arrangements expected to be brought to Parliament.

Güven said: "Prisons are the areas that best express the state of a society, the way a country is governed. There are more than 300 thousand people in Turkish prisons. Among these people are those with chronic diseases, sick prisoners and people from 7 to 70. The state is responsible for their health and for whatever happen to them while in custody."

Güven added: "Prisons were often left to their own destiny, people tried to survive and live inside with their own means. For example, and I speak as someone who has been in prison for 6 years: What measures can be taken if many people are staying in a small ward? There is no mechanism to eliminate risk, there are food and health problems. They have to struggle with constant defencies and problems."

Now prisoners, said the DTK co-chair, are "in greater danger because of this coronavirus. Undoubtedly, it is not possible to expect sincerity from the states, but we all have to be in a struggle for this law to ensure it covers everyone. The state should not be wrong about this. A strategic mistake can cause hundreds of thousands of deaths."

Güven ended her remarks by saying: "We address the authorities in order to avoid a tragedy: there is a need for an independent, egalitarian regulation. We will continue to raise our voices as the hope of hundreds of thousands of people waiting for this legal arrangement in prisons."