Mehmet Akpolat (46) who has been in a Turkish prison for 27 years, has been held in a solitary confinement cell for 19 years in Siirt E Type Prison, in Siirt (Sêrt) city in southeastern Turkey. His mother Hanife Akpolat (73) talked to Mesopotama Agency (MA) on the difficulties her son and she have been facing over the years
An Istanbul State Security Court (DGM) sentenced Mehmet Akpolat to a life sentence on 18 July 1995 on charges of attempting to separate a part of the country’s territory.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) previously ruled that the DGM court decisions, violated human rights whilst these highly controversial courts were established after the 12 September 1980 military coup in Turkey. Yet the ECHR rejected the application of Akpolat’s lawyers for a re-trial.
Torture with electro-shock
Akpolat has been coping with more than one disease, including several health problems in his heart, kidneys and stomach, on top of his rheumatism and asthma.
“When Mehmet was first arrested, he was tortured continuously for a month. How can a person stay healthy if he was tortured for a month? They gave him electro-shocks during the torture. Mehmet has now turned into an old man,” his mother Hanife Akpolat said,
Families of prisoners face huge distress
Mehmet’s mother has suffered from various health problems during her long years of struggling to visit her son. She has had 2 heart attacks during prison visits.
“Our prison visits have been a struggle. We have sold everything we had and now have debts, we have given all the money we have been able to find either to lawyers, sent it to Mehmet, or spent it on the roads to visit him. They torture families as well as prisoners. We cannot visit him due to the pandemic for about a year,” she said.
Mother Hanife stated that her son Mehmet Akpolat has been kept in a solitary cell, all alone, for 19 years.“We want to see the prisoners before they die. We have one demand; Open the doors of political prisons!” she said.