The Hunger Strike Local Monitoring Coordination held a press conference about the ongoing hunger strikes which was launched 27th Nov 2020 against the isolation of Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and the violations of rights in prisons.
As the hunger strikes reached their 104th day, human rights defenders in Turkey attempt to give voice to the demands of the hunger striking prisoners in an effort to prevent possible health problems and deaths in prisons due to the hunger strike.
Representative from the Contemporary Lawyers Association Ankara Branch, Human Rights Association Istanbul Branch, Lawyers Association for Freedom Ankara Branch and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey formed a Hunger Strike Local Monitoring Committee to closely monitor the ongoing hunger strikes.
Lawyer Ayşegül Çağatay, a member of the Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD), spoke at the press conference and said that the violations of rights in prisons have negative effects in every aspect of the lives of detainees. She pointed out that the conditions of the prisoners have worsened during the pandemic.
“All of their rights have been taken from them,” she said and added that not releasing the seriously ill prisoners, restricting communication of the prisoners, allowing only broadcasts determined by the administration, imposing strip searches are among the rights violations that are being experienced in Turkish prisons.
Çağatay stated that the isolation imposed against Abdullah Öcalan is a violation of the United Nations (UN) Mandela Rules, the recommendations of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), and Turkey’s Execution Law No.5275.
“Ill prisoners should also be provided with proper treatment, but currently they are not. Torture and other forms of ill-treatment should be ended in prisons,” she said.
Çağatay called on the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Parliament’s Human Rights Review Commission, the Ombudsman Institutions, and all relevant institutions and organisations to carry out their duty.
She especially noted that the Ministry of Justice should take immediate action regarding the demands of the hunger striking prisoners.
“The health of the strikers are at great risk, the state has to take action to prevent serious problems regarding their health,” she said.
The Hunger Strike Local Monitoring Coordination also announced that they are currently working on a report to be published with the public soon regarding the situation of the strikers and the conditions inside the prisons.