The health condition of the seriously ill prisoner Fatma Tokmak in Bakırköy Women’s Closed Prison in Turkey is getting steadily worse.
The Human Rights Association (İHD) recently revealed that there are 605 prisoners who are ill in prisons in Turkey. It has stated that there are problems and difficulties that are experienced by the ill-prisoners in accessing health treatment: their conditions are worsening day by day under the conditions of the prison administrations that are taking insufficient pandemic health precautions.
Fatma Tokmak, who has been in prison for 20 years, is one of the seriously ill-prisoners who has been subjected to solitary confinement under the name and guise of “pandemic measures” needing to be undertaken.
According to Mesopotamia Agency, Fatma Tokmak, who was detained in Kocaeli with her 2.5-year-old son Azad in 1996, was sentenced to life imprisonment on the grounds of “membership in a terrorist organization”. Tokmak has suffered from severe heart disease, bronchitis and asthma due to the torture she suffered from and from poor prison conditions. Tokmak, who has to receive regular treatment, was released in 2006 with a “travel ban” due to her illnesses. However, in 2010, she was reimprisoned in Bakırköy Closed Prison for Women, after her sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court.
Her life is in danger
Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) in 2014 reported that Tokmak’s life was in danger due to the several chronic diseases she suffers from. However, the Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK) prevented Tokmak from being released by presenting a health report that arrived at different conclusions. Fatma Tokmak’s lawyer, Jiyan Kaya, has stated that the decision to not release her client despite a “violation” decision of the ECHR was against the principles of universal law.
Indicating that the “retrial” demands of Tokmak – which were made in 2019 – were rejected, lawyer Kaya noted that they made an application for her release due to the pandemic health threat. Kaya said: “Our request for release that was sent to the Bakırköy Execution Judge was rejected on the grounds that they were not the officials to make this type of decision. They don’t want to make a decision on this matter. However, Tokmak’s situation is getting worse day by day: with the bad prison conditions, ‘conditions are applied as torture'”.
Stating that she met with her client on 9 November, Kaya stated that Tokmak has not been taken to hospital for treatment since 23 March 23. ”She is not being treated by a specialist cardiologist or doctor. Normally, she needs to have a blood transfusion regularly every week. However, in prison, it takes 15 days to do this. In addition, she cannot sleep at night due to her asthma and she faints inside”, her lawyer said.
Right to access of health treatment has been blocked
Stating that Tokmak is not being treated adequately, her lawyer stated that her conditions of being made to stay in quarantine for 14 days has been imposed: “How can such a seriously ill-person stay in quarantine for 14 days alone. Tokmak fears that whilst in quarantine, she will not be adequately monitored by the guards and will not be able to make her voice heard if she faints or suffers discomfort. Her access to the right to health, which is the most basic human right, has been blocked”.