26 inmates died in Turkish prisons in first 6 months of year: opposition MP

Twenty-six inmates died in Turkish prisons in the first six months of 2023, the ANKA news agency reported, citing Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a lawmaker from the Green Left Party (YSP) and a prominent human rights advocate.

According to Gergerlioğlu, 15 inmates have died under suspicious circumstances since January.

He criticized the authorities for not providing further information on these cases.

After an abortive putsch in 2016, ill-treatment and torture became widespread and systematic in Turkish detention centers. Lack of condemnation from higher officials and a readiness to cover up allegations rather than investigate them have resulted in widespread impunity for the security forces.

Eleven prisoners have died of serious illness this year, Gergerlioğlu said in a video shared on Twitter.

According to a report by the Human Rights Association (İHD), there were 1,517 sick inmates in Turkish detention facilities as of December 2022, 651 of whom were critically ill. 

Although most of the seriously ill patients have forensic and medical reports deeming them unfit to remain in prison, they are not released. Authorities refuse to free them on the grounds that they pose a potential danger to society.

Human rights activists and opposition politicians have frequently criticized authorities for not releasing seriously ill prisoners so they can seek proper treatment. 

There are a total of 326,960 inmates in Turkish prisons, of whom 283,561 are serving time and 43,399 are jailed pending trial. Of these 311,322 are men, 13,190 are women and 2,448 are minors, according to the Directorate General of Prisons and Houses of Detention (CTE).

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