The chairperson of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Financı says that for assessments to be objective, diagnosis of sick prisoners should only be made by independent scientific institutions or by hospitals, rather than by the Forensic Medicine Institute which is under the administration of the Turkish justice ministry.
According to data published by the Human Rights Association (İHD), there are currently 1,605 sick prisoners, 604 of whom are in a serious condition.
The reports issued by the Turkish Forensic Medicine Institute, which attempt to justify the decision to deny the release of sick prisoners, are controversial. Prisoners are denied release despite reports by various health institutions and state hospitals on these prisoners’ non-eligibility for imprisonment due to sickness.
“There are sick prisoners in serious conditions. It is a grave issue that the Forensic Medicine Institute is the only point of referral for evaluating the cases of sick prisoners, while there are other scientific institutions and hospitals [available],” Fincancı said.
“We know that the Forensic Medicine Institute is under the administration of the Turkish Ministry of Justice, so this contradicts the principle of independence, and this is shown in the case of Aysel Tuğluk. Scientifically, there was a serious deficiency in evaluations. The diagnosis was completely wrong despite clear symptoms.”
“Access to medicine is a basic right both for prisoners and for everyone else. Unfortunately, nowadays everyone is having problems in accessing health services in Turkey, and prisons are a truly bleeding wound. Human right organisations and professional associations have been completely prevented from observing and making assessments on the situation, or from contributing to solutions.”
“It’s only normal that any death in prison is considered a suspicious case since the welfare of prisoners is under the state’s obligation. The state’s accountability requires it to efficiently inspect every case of death, to have it investigated and to have all processes recorded, and this needs to be done through independent committees. Unfortunately, this is not the way things are in Turkey.”