The imprisoned former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP), Sebahat Tuncel, sent a message from prison indicating that prison wards have started to be raided on a routine basis and that prisoners have been subjected to violence at the same time as attacks on Kurds in Turkey increased, Jin News reports.
Imprisoned since 2016 under Turkey’s controversial anti terror legislation and sentenced to 15 years in prison for “being a member of a terrorist organisation” in 2019, Tuncel had previously been arrested in November 2006 for alleged membership of the Kurdistan Workers Party, PKK. She was released in July the following year when she was elected to the Turkish national assembly.
Imprisoned in Sincan Prison in the capital city of Ankara, Tuncel told her lawyers that daily roll-calls in the prison were carried out as raids on the wards since 28 July, and that the prison guards were trying to provoke the inmates during these raids.
On 7 August, when inmates responded to this routine practice as they were in the common outdoor area, they were forced back into their wards, the air conditioning was turned off, and they were subjected to violence.
Tuncel also informed the lawyers that letters of complaint they had written to the Ministry of Justice were seized by the prison administration, and they’ve applied to file cases in the prosecutor’s office.
She emphasised that they were targeted at the same time as the rise of racist attacks in Turkey. She said the inmates wanted the situation to be reported in the media.
The Democratic Regions Party released a statement saying, “We declare that we will not accept nor stand down in front of these racist attacks targeting our representatives in Turkey and abroad.”
Attacks against Kurds in the Turkish-majority provinces doubled in Turkey over the last month. 280 racist attacks have been reported to have occurred within the last 10 years.