Mizgin Çiçek, a student of Dokuz Eylül University, was sentenced to six years and three months in prison in 2017 on ‘terrorism’ charges. She has been in Şakran Women’s Closed Prison in Izmir ever since.
Several incidents regarding the abuse of rights of political prisoners in Şakran Prison have been high on the agenda of human rights defenders in Turkey, as families of prisoners and human rights institutions have reported cases of violations there and referring to the prison as a symbol of violence.
Recently, when she had less than one year of her prison sentence left to serve, Çiçek applied to the prison administration for a conditional release. However, the administration imposed a strange “condition” to Çizgin as a pre-requisite to her conditional release that has no place in Turkey’s laws, Jin News reported.
Şakran Prison’s administration stated that Çiçek’s petition would be put ‘in process’ on the condition that she would either request to be transferred to another ward, known as the ward of the “independents” (in which prisoners who have accepted to alienate themselves from political ties or organisations are held) or settle for ”repentance.”
Her father, Mirzeydin Çiçek, told Jin News that Mizgin had been imprisoned with her two siblings. Later, one of the three had to leave the country for political reasons, and the other had died in Kobanê.
Noting that he was also imprisoned for 20 months during the 1980 military coup, Mizgin’s father indicated that prisoners today had to struggle for their rights again, just as prisoners had done during the 1980s.
Pointing out that his daughter was arrested for her social media posts and a book she’d sent to her brother in prison, Mirzeydin said, “My daughter attended court three times. Each time, the prosecutor asked for her release, but the court decided to continue with her imprisonment. The judge just held her as a hostage.”
The petition he wrote to the prison administration regarding his daughter’s remaining prison term of four-and-a-half-months was rejected for the reason that she did not accept a transfer to the “independents ward.”
“Is this legal? It is an arbitrary measure of the prison administration. I do not accept this. I will apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). She has been held hostage for four and a half years. When she was arrested, she had only three months left to finish school,” he said.
Indicating that there are lots of violations of prisoners’ rights taking place in Turkey, especially in Şakran Prison, Mirzeydin said, ”I have seen so many prisons, but Şakran is the worst.”
He added that his daughter has been suffering chronic health problems relating to her eyes and stomach: “When my daughter goes to the hospital, the hospital report ‘disappears.’ Can you imagine how a report can be lost? Prisoners are subjected to torture and isolation.
“She is allowed a 10-minute phone call once a week, which is constantly cut off. I stand behind my child and all the others. They didn’t commit a crime, they didn’t kill anyone, they didn’t steal. They just demanded to live like humans, and for that, they are punished.”
Describing the recent arbitrary practices against prisoners as “torture,” Mirzeydin said, “Prisoners are on hunger strike to end these violations and also to end the isolation on Mr. Öcalan. Turkey has to respect its own laws.”