Turkey has seen at least 1,562 rights violations behind bars in 2021, based on a report prepared by advocacy group Civil Society in the Penal System (CİSST). At least 51 inmates have lost their lives.
CİSST has received 3,180 applications by mail, and has already identified rights violations in 1,562 of the cases in the ongoing tally they are holding for the 2021-2022 report, activist Özge Aksoy told Mezopotamya Agency.
At least 140 inmates have reported torture and ill treatment, while 181 others have said they experienced rights violations in accessing healthcare.
Turkish prisons do not accommodate particular needs, Aksoy said. Rules on what types of clothing inmates are allowed are not adjusted to particular climates, prison food lacks nutrition, and climate control systems often have issues, the group found. “Looking at the issues as a whole we see that ill prisoners are kept from exercising their rights,” Aksoy added.
Inmates are taken to hospital in crowded vehicles and in handcuffs, she said. Soldiers remain in the room during examinations, and tell the doctors about political prisoners’ reasons for arrest, which violates their right to privacy, she added.
“Special needs of ill prisoners are not met, in a manner that constitutes a second punishment,” Aksoy said. “There have been many deaths in prisons this year, and we also hear from those who were released just before they pass away.”
Women in prisons suffer more as the prison environment is designed with male convicts in mind, Aksoy said. “Sanitary products are not provided without charge, and prison food does not accommodate women’s propsensity for osteoporosis or anemia.”
Women also refuse doctor’s visits because of male soldiers insisting on staying in the room during, she said.
Women in prisons are more disadvantaged than men in accessing treatment, she added.
The Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK) in Turkey prevents the release of ill prisoners, Aksoy said, “Aysel Tuğluk has become a symbolic name in this issue.”
The Kurdish politician has not been released from prison despite reports that show advancing dementia.