9 inmates at Turkish prison attempt suicide in two weeks’ time

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A total of nine inmates have attempted suicide in two weeks at a prison in the southern province of Antalya, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.

According to an official report by the prison administration, the inmates were “protesting the insensitivity of the administration to their problems.”

The first attempt was made by Akıncan S. on December 28, who swallowed some pills he had hidden away. Another inmate named Hasan K. was found attempting to hang himself the same day. According to the prison report, he was found unconscious and taken to the hospital immediately.

Other inmates in the same ward also took pills in an attempt to end their lives. Erden A. said he took the pills because he “had problems, and the prison administration failed to take notice.”

There have been allegations that narcotics were smuggled into the prison and that many inmates who visited the prison infirmary were given anti-depressants and sedatives.

It was also alleged that the warden was seen frequenting a nightclub owned by one of the inmates, Y.B, which suggested an ethics violation. Complaints were filed against the warden and prison administration but to no avail.

According to a report by the Association for the Freedom of Lawyers (ÖHD), human rights violations against detainees and inmates continue in Turkey with increasing cases of unlawful strip-searches, abuse and torture.

The report said inmates were given arbitrary disciplinary punishments, the number of which has risen by 365 percent in the last 10 years.

According to the ÖHD report, the pandemic also has had an adverse effect on the socialization of inmates. “Inmates are forced into solitary confinement, which has become a strain on their mental health. Not only can they not see their families due to restrictions on visitations, but they are not allowed to play sports or socialize among themselves in common areas,” it said.

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