There are a total of 34 sick inmates in the prisons in Turkey’s southeastern province of Urfa (Riha), five of them with severe conditions, Human Rights Association (İHD) Urfa chapter’s prisons commission spokesman told reporters.
“The number of sick prisoners should go down with releases, not deaths,” İHD spokesperson Ahmet Ceylan said on Friday.
According to a study by the İHD, there are currently 1,605 inmates who suffer from severe health conditions in Turkey’s various prisons, 604 of them with severe illnesses. Since 2016, at least 103 prisoners have died due to medical conditions behind bars.
According to a medical report, among the 34 inmates in Urfa are COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) sufferers Bazo Yılmaz and Emin Güler, who has a 94 per cent disability.
Deaths in prison have been on the rise due to increased restrictions on access to medical care under COVID-19 pandemic conditions, Ceylan noted.
The tally the İHD keeps is only based on limited information the association can gather from prisons, as human rights advocates are no longer allowed to make prison visits.
“There needs to be a scientific, objective and non-partisan discussion on the matter of sick prisoners,” Ceylan added. “Persons who would be able to access medical care outside of prison should be released so that they are be able to exercise their rights (…) Now, unfortunately the number of sick prisoners is falling only because of deaths (…) What we expect from the state is justice, not mercy.”
Emin Güler has issues in his right hand and foot and a spinal injury. He is diagnosed with hepatitis C and cannot carry out his daily tasks alone.
Bazo Yılmaz has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and is having trouble breathing.
Ayhan Kavak also has COPD and a chronic rheumatic condition. He also suffers from goitre, osteoporosis, and hernias.
Ramazan Çetedir has six teeth left due to shrapnel from an explosion, as well as a platinum plate in his jaw. He cannot eat on his own and is at risk of paralysis due to shrapnel pieces embedded near his spinal cord. He also lost four toes to frostbite.
Nurettin Başaran has a disability of 78 per cent. He cannot walk due to a back injury and suffers from circulation issues. He also has prostate cancer.
Taha Yaşar lost his hearing due to a rupture in his eardrum while being tortured.
Several inmates suffer from conditions brought on by poorly treated gunshot wounds, while the low-mobility life in prison exacerbates others’ conditions. Renal failure, asthma, diabetes, colon infections, paralysis, dementia, stomach issues, and cardiac issues are among prisoners’ problems.