A report stemming from a visit to Aksaray prison by Özgür Çağlar and Fırat Baykara, lawyers from the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD), has brought particular attention to the role of the prison psychologist. Conducted on 28 September, the visit aimed to investigate allegations of human rights abuses, but the psychologist’s actions stood out as especially concerning.
The report revealed that the psychologist asked ethically inappropriate questions, such as inmates’ views on the government’s anti-terrorism efforts and whether they would assist or report a terrorist. These questions were subsequently used to negatively impact the inmates’ eligibility for conditional release.
Besides the psychologist’s conduct, the report also outlines other human rights concerns. Inmates are limited to one weekly sports session and are provided insufficient food portions. They are allowed only 30 minutes of in-person visitation and 10 minutes of phone calls per week.
Moreover, inmates face degrading treatments like forced shoe removal and oral cavity searches during medical transfers. Some were also questioned by the prison’s Administration and Observation Board about their political beliefs, which were then used as grounds to deny their release.
On the health front, the report details that one prisoner, Metin Gelni, suffers from various health issues, including heart problems and a herniated disc. Another inmate, Sait Gürkan, is dealing with heart valve insufficiency. Despite these serious health conditions, the prison’s healthcare practices were found to be inadequate.