Prisoners in the Aegean region are exposed to great risks

TUHAY-DER co-chairs warned that prisons in the Aegean region are at great risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and said that Öcalan and all politicians should be released.

Ahmet Ertaş and Fevziye Polat, co-chairs of the TUHAY-DER (Association of solidarity with families of political prisoners), expressed their disappointment with the proposal to be discussed in Parliament to allow the release of prisoners due to the coronavirus emergency.

Ertaş said: "If a package of measures is to be released, it should include also political prisoners. These people have been taken hostage by political authorities. What is the government doing? While the world is fighting the virus, the government here is fighting Kurds."

Reminding that prisoners in the jails of the Aegean region have told their families of the many problems and risks in the different institutions, Ertaş said: "The prisoners tell their families that they have difficulties in obtaining cleaning supplies, gloves, masks and disinfectants. Disinfection of the prison is not done with proper products and 5 masks are sold by the prison administration for 7.5 TL. Prisoners cannot protect themselves against the virus."

Ertaş emphasized that Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan should be released and added: "The Kurdish people's leader is left alone in an environment, the island of Imralı, where conditions are extremes. Separate measures should be granted to Mr. Öcalan."

Ertaş drew attention to the fact that there are approximately 300 ill prisoners in the Aegean Region and that they should be immediately released.

TUHAY-DER co-chair Fevziye Polat reiterated that the government have not taken sufficient measures to counter an outbreak of coronavirus in prisons and wanted to leave political prisoners to their fate.

Polat warned: "Currently, 20 people are staying in a ward. Unfortunately, prisoners at present are not in the condition to overcome the epidemic process."