As the mass hunger strike in Turkey’s prisons reaches its 131st day, the wife of a political prisoner spoke to Jin News about the cruel treatment to which both she and her jailed husband have been subjected.
In more than 150 prisons in Turkey political prisoners are on an indefinite hunger strike on a rotational basis. The prisoners are demanding that the Turkish authorities act to eliminate the violations of rights in prisons and lift the prison isolation conditions of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been held in Imralı High Security Prison for 22 years.
Mustafa Amutgan, jailed in the Hilvan T-type Closed Prison in Turkey’s southeastern province of Urfa (Riha), is participating in the hunger strike. He has been in prison “for 28 years”, said his wife, Remziye Amutgan. “During those 28 years, we have been travelling across cities, across different prisons. And after my son was jailed, too, it became harder for me to visit two prisons twice a week,” Remziye said.
‘Under one condition’
With both her husband and her son behind bars, Remziye has tried to express her concerns to Turkish authorities. “I told the prison administration that due to my health problems visiting the hospital is already hard for me,” Remziye said. “All I demanded was to be able to visit my husband and my son on the same day. They kept refusing this demand.”
The authorities finally accepted her demands, but under one condition. “They offered to take my husband to the visit area used by those convicted of petty crimes. My husband is a political prisoner. I cannot accept such treatment, because I know the stance of the political prisoners and I know that this offer is just unlawful,” Remziye said.
‘Get the hell out of here!’
Remziye shared the horrible treatment she was subjected to the last time she went to visit her husband in the prison.
“I wanted to see my son and husband, but using the pandemic as an excuse they deprived me of my right to visit. Going from one door to another, trying to find someone in charge, I fainted,” she said.
“When I woke up, I found guards yelling at me. Get the hell out of here, one of them shouted. Each time in prison, the guards are aggressive. They don’t treat us as humans.”
‘We have no one to listen to our demands’
Explaining that each and every day, prisoners face a new practice that further violate their rights, Remziye said she has no idea where to go for help. “Tell me where to go,” she said. “We have no one to listen to our demands. No one. If they cannot find a way to solve our problems, I can burn myself alive. Enough,” Rezmsiye said.
“For months, the prisoners have been on hunger strike. Does anyone hear them? Please, everyone, raise your voice, go out to the streets. We don’t bow, we don’t surrender. Look: we stand strong. Look: we talk and shout. So everyone, please stand strong, talk and say ‘enough’ to this cruelty.”