73 inmates died in Turkish prisons in 2022, opposition lawmaker says

Seventy-three inmates have died in Turkish prisons in 2022, according to a report by Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy and human rights defender Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu.

The report was drafted based on information received by lawyers and families of inmates who died in Turkish prisons.

According to the report, 39 prisoners died of serious illness and 34 by suicide.

Gergerlioğlu criticized the Justice Ministry for not providing further information on these cases, saying “prisons have become houses of death.”

Most recently, Kemal Mutlum, a former brigadier general who was serving an aggravated life sentence on conviction of coup charges following an abortive putsch in Turkey in July 2016, died in prison.

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

Gergerlioğlu previously said critically ill political prisoners were not released from prison “until it reaches the point of no return.” He depicted the deaths of seriously ill prisoners in Turkey who are not released in time to receive proper medical treatment as acts of murder committed by the state.

According to the statistics published by the Human Rights Association (İHD), the number of sick prisoners is in the thousands, more than 600 of whom are 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.

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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