Turkey: Prisoner denied video call with dying mother

Turkey: Prisoner denied video call with dying mother
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Zerrin Yilmaz in Sincan prison was not allowed to talk face to face with her mother for one last time, "because she was serving an aggravated life term."

A Turkish prison administration denied a prisoner a video call with her mother, who is reportedly in the end stage of her illness, on grounds that the prisoner was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment.

Lawyer Hulya Yildirim told +Gercek's Seda Taskin that when her client Zerrin Yilmaz applied to the administration of Sincan prison saying that she would like to talk with her mother face to face for a last time, the administration told her that her application would be evaluated after she provided them with a medical report.

Dr. Katrin Heinrich Abukar from Germany wrote to the administration on 21 November:

"Mrs. Fatim Yilmaz is suffering from terminal cancer. Her imminent demise is likely. For this reason, it is a matter of urgency that she is given the opportunity to bid farewell to her daughter who is living in the Republic of Turkey."

Zerrin Yilmaz's brother submitted an application two days later, requesting the administration's permission for a video call.

The administration this time responded saying that "they can not authorize a video call since Zerrin Yilmaz is serving a sentence of aggravated life imprisonment."

The right for the prisoners to make video calls was recognized in Turkey on 29 March 2020. However, according to the regulation, the applications of those prisoners who were convicted of "terror" or "organized crime" charges still need to be approved by prison monitoring committees.

Most of the political prisoners in Turkey are convicted of "terror" charges.

Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, deputy for the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), who himself was earlier sentenced to a prison term over "terror charges," had launched a campaign in June to end the discrimination.

Meral Danis Bestas, HDP's deputy parliamentary group chair, called upon Turkish authorities on 21 November for the approval of Zerrin Yilmaz's request to have a video call with her mother.

Her call on Twitter have been met with flurries of negative responses, some wishing that "the mother and daughter may unite in Hell," some posting a blasting artillery image and writing, "We'll send her to her mother on that," some simply saying, "You all croak!"

None of the responses have been found in violation of Twitter's hateful conduct policy.