280 inmates committ suicide in Turkey’s prisons in last 5 years

At least 280 inmates committed suicide in Turkish prisons in last five years, according to the official data shared by Turkey’s Justice Ministry as a response to a question motion given by the independent deputy Aylin Nazlıaka.

According to a news report by BirGün daily, Turkey’s Justice Ministry has stated that 280 inmates committed suicide in Turkish prisons between 2011-2016. While seven of them inmates, who commited suicide in Turkish prisons, were children between the ages of 12-17, twenty-seven of them were between teh ages of 18-21; and the others were over 21 years old.

Independent deputy Aylin Nazlıaka.

Calling on the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to take on responsibility of these suicides, Deputy Nazlıaka has stated that ‘prisons in Turkey have turned into coffins.’

“The burden of these citizens who committed suicide is on the shoulder of the government. During recent visits I conducted to the prisons, I have found out that restrictions have increased with the excuse of state of emergency and the inmates are being subjected to indirect psychological torture…. The government, which is proud of owning the biggest prison of Europe, has created a picture of shame for us and built prisons that have turned into coffins,” said Nazlıaka.

A total of 35 people who or whose relatives have been affected by the post-coup purge, either by losing their jobs or by being arrested, due to their alleged links to the movement, have committed suicide, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said in a report in late April, this year.

An updated version of a report released by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) in March 2017 has documented 76 cases of suspicious deaths & suicides in Turkey during detention or under arrest or following heavy oppresions apllied by Turkish government since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

There has been an increase in the number of suspicious deaths in Turkey, most in Turkish jails and detention centers where a torture and ill-treatment is being practiced. In most cases, authorities concluded these as suicides without any effective, independent investigation.

The suspicious death has also taken place beyond the prison walls amid psychological pressure and threats of imminent imprisonment and torture, sometimes following the release of suspects or just before the detention.

A military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt.

June 11, 2017

 

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