IHD warns about worsening of conditions in the country's jails

The Human Rights Association warns about the heavy situation of rights violation in Turkish prisons.

According to information of the Human Rights Association's (IHD) Istanbul Branch obtained from prisoners’ families or the letters sent by the prisoners themselves, sick prisoners are not taken to the hospital, strip searches are imposed, and prisoners who object to be examined while handcuffed by a doctor are subjected to physical violence by administrative personnel or soldiers.

IHD Istanbul Branch chair and lawyer, Gülseren Yoleri, pointed out that there is no public information about what happened in Turkish prisons and said that the prisoners were subjected to violence when they exposed violation of their rights.

Yoleri summarized the situation of ill prisoners through the examples of prisoner Fatma Özbay. “Fatma Özbay has breast cancer. Several test results show that her cancer has spread, but she cannot get any treatment. The disease is not controlled and she is left alone with it. Being left alone with this disease equals a death sentence.”

Pointing out that torture has become routine in the last period, Yoleri added that “treatment is not given using the excuse of the coronavirus pandemic. Of course this situation provokes tension. The administration instead of easing the tension, increases it by responding with more abuse and violation.”

Families learned about the violations in prisons through the letters the prisoners themselves write, said Yoleri adding: "There are complaints about the delays in correspondence. Often letters never leave the prison. As we know, because of the pandemic, lawyers, as well as families, were not allowed to visit the prisoners. We have experienced a process in which social activities are prevented. The prison under lockdown clearly appears much heavier. Today we are talking about very serious problems. There is no transparent administration in prisons. We never know what's going on.”

Yoleri confirmed that any objection by prisoners is answered with violence. “The guards use violence when the prisoners refuse to be strip searched, for example. But there is also psychological violence imposed on prisoners all the time. Therefore, we are talking about a picture where every kind of violence is experienced. And when it comes to health, prisoners suffer a great deal, as they are more and more often not taken to hospital nor are they given treatment.”