Guards at Şırnak T-Type Prison, located in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority eastern province of Şırnak (Şirnex), raided the cells of inmates and subjectedthem to brutal beatings.
Sixteen inmates were subjected to levels of violence from the guards that amounted to torture.
Mehmet Ali Çevik, a prisoner who was hospitalised after the brutal assault last week, remains in the intensive care unit in Şırnak state hospital.
Other inmates are reported to be suffering from broken bones in their arms and legs from the assault by guards, who apparently acted under the supervision of the prison governor.
Mahsun Durak, a Kurdish prisoner, told his family of the violence of the guards that he too was subjected to.
“Guards have been repeatedly attacking my husband and other inmates since 22 October,” Durak’s wife Zeynep Durak, told Mezopotamya News Agency.
Mahsun shared information with his wife during their weekly telephone call, saying that the guards “keep doing their worst. It is really bad”.
He informed her that there had been repeated violence since Friday.
“They beat us up cruelly. Two of our friends were hospitalised,” Mahsun said on the phone.
“Normally when he calls, he sounds spirited, to cheer me up, but this time he sounded awful. When I asked him what was going on, he told me that things are really not OK there,” Zeynep said.
After visiting his son in hospital, Mahsun’s father Mehmet Durak confirmed seeing more seriously wounded prisoners there.
“Some guards who had raided the wards two days before came to the wards again later on and made the prisoners turn their faces to the wall. They threatened them, saying, ‘We’re going to lick you into shape’,” he said.
Mehmet Durak called on the Human Rights Assocation (IHD) and Şırnak Bar to visit the prison in connection with the beatings.
Family members of the prisoners intended to protest against the torture outside the prison on Tuesday, but the police prevented them, according to Mezopotamya News Agency.
The families went on to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) office building in Şırnak and issued a press statement outside it in response to the police’s obstruction of their right to demonstrate, with the support of members of the Peace Mothers Council and HDP politicans.
Speaking at the protest, Sabahattin Deniz, co-chair of HDP’s Şırnak office said:
“The prisons of Turkey have turned into torture centres, where prisoners are subjected to all kinds of inhumane and humiliating treatment.”
Appealing to all sensitive democratic circles, Deniz called for public awareness about rights violations in prisons.
Human rights defenders and family members of prisoners have long been campaigning about the abuses of human rights in Turkey’s prisons, as tens of thousands of inmates suffer from the imposition of countless unlawful measures in the prisons, ranging from strip searches to limitations in communicating with the outside world.
The most recent report regarding the abuses in prisons was released today by the Prisons Commission of IHD’s Istanbul office.
The report, consisting of the documentation of abuses of rights throughout the prisons in the Marmara Region, revealed that there were dozens of cases related to “torture, assault and ill-treatment” within the last three months alone.
IHD announced that they had documented 45 incidents violating the ban on torture, 47 incidents of ill-treatment, 20 incidents of strip-searches and 31 other incidents of inhumane treatment.
Turkey topped 47 Council of Europe (CoE) countries as of January 2020 with the highest incarceration rate. There are 297,019 inmates in Turkish penal institutions, which indicates that the total incarceration rate remains above the capacity of Turkey’s prisons, according to CoE’s annual report.