New reports are arriving on the increasing repression of political prisoners in Turkey.
Silivri L-Type Prison No.5 is just the latest recorded location of mistreatment of prisoners as around 150 inmates in Silivri Prison were arbitrarily moved to different wards and prisons, having been beaten up during a midnight raid on their wards.
Lawyers who visited the prison upon receiving news from Silivri, told MA that inmates were physically attacked by the prison guards, and their personal belongings, including letters they had received from outside, books and clothes, have been confiscated.
Mahmut Olgun, a Kurdish political prisoner in Silivri Prison, shared more details regarding the attack they were subjected to during a telephone call with his family.
Olgun was locked into a solitary confinement cell for five days for writing a book in Kurdish while the Silivri prison administration launched what they call a “disciplinary investigation” against him for dancing the traditional Kurdish dance known as the “govend”.
“He told me that they were being verbally and physically harrassed, and that the prison guards have been raiding their cells in the early morning, at 2 and 3 am,” Mahmut’s mother Kubar Olgun said.
She also said that her son and other inmates are not allowed out to the exercise or to do sports.
“Their electricity and tap water are always being cut off. Prison guards have confiscated their clothes and thrown them away,” she said.
Last year, at 357 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants, Turkey’s incarceration rate was the highest of all 47 member states of the Council of Europe, according to CoE’s Annual Penal Statistics 2020.
Human rights defenders have been long campaigning to highlight human rights abuses in Turkey’s prison system, including severe isolation practices, physical attacks, acts of torture and strip searches.
While the Turkish government tries to silence opposition figures, politicians, activists and journalists by jailing them in increasing numbers, it has also been ramping up the construction of new prisons in recent years.
Satellite imagery reveals construction on 131 prisons beginning between July 2016 and March 2021, and Turkish Ministry of Justice documents and press reports indicate nearly 100 further facilities under consideration by Erdogan’s government.