Rising violations in Turkish prisons concern human rights advocates

Rising violations in Turkish prisons concern human rights advocates
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A new report reveals a disturbing trend of abuses in detention centers.

Over the past two years, Turkey's İHD (Human Rights Association) has received 155 complaints from inmates across 19 correctional facilities. This includes 57 complaints from six S Type Closed Prisons and 98 from 13 High-Security Closed Prisons. The inmates reported various violations, from physical abuse and torture to systematic problems like solitary confinement and restrictions on Kurdish literature.

The İHD's report highlighted numerous abuses, including torture, unjust disciplinary actions, humiliating searches, and military-style routines reminiscent of the oppressive regime of September 12.

Ercan Yilmaz, the President of the İHD Diyarbakır Branch, brought attention to the issue of solitary confinement. He emphasized that many inmates, especially those with severe sentences, were isolated, with a scant few sharing rooms with two others.

Nuray Cevirmen, a representative from İHD, discussed the grim conditions within the High-Security Penitentiary Institutions. She described a system where inmates were grouped based on their convictions and ongoing trials. The isolation of sick and disabled prisoners, exposed to heightened health risks, was a particular concern.

Prison hygiene is alarmingly poor. Inmates must wash and dry their clothes within their cramped quarters, leading to heightened disease risks. To compound matters, windows, often the sole source of ventilation, are barricaded, prompting several inmates to protest through hunger strikes.

The report also touched on the aggressive approach adopted by prison administrations, with inmates forced to follow strict formations and routines. External communication is limited, with controlled family calls and restricted access to opposing media outlets.

Personal property restrictions are stringent. For instance, in one prison, each inmate can possess only 18 books, which include essential texts like dictionaries.

The S Type Prisons, known for their strict measures, have come under severe criticism. Reports from inmates like Hogır Batu reveal harrowing violations. Furthermore, the suspicious deaths of inmates Sezer Alan and Sinan Kaya have prompted their families to turn to İHD, laying the blame squarely on the prison authorities.

Closing the report, lawyer Yusuf Erdogan, an İHD Diyarbakır board member, emphasized the harmful effects of extended solitary confinement on inmates' mental and physical health. He passionately called for the immediate closure of the High Security, Type S, and Type F Prisons, advocating for preserving inmates' dignity and human rights.